Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/louisville-or-rutgers-which-team-best-big-east
Body:

Through the first four weeks of the season, it seems clear Louisville and Rutgers are the top two teams in the Big East. The Cardinals were picked by many to win the league in the preseason, but have opinions changed after watching Rutgers this year?

Louisville or Rutgers: Which team is the best in the Big East?

Coach Dick MacPherson, former head coach of the Syracuse Orange, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Rutgers is a big surprise. They had their coach leave for the NFL and brought in a new coaching staff there this year. They are playing really well and had a big win at Arkansas this past weekend. This is the best looking Rutgers team in a long time. That being said, I would still pick Louisville to be the team to win the Big East. I have the Cardinals ranked No. 16 in our Legends Poll. I really like Coach Strong and the staff he has put together.  They have a young kid at quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, who is playing outstanding football for them. They are the most complete football team in the Big East.

Mark Ennis, Manager of Big East Coast Bias (@Mengus22)
It's funny that this has even become a question after a month of the season, but it has, and for good reason. Louisville looked sharp in blowing out rival Kentucky, Missouri State, and in the first half against North Carolina. After that, six quarters of pretty unenthusiastic football (though they keep winning). Rutgers looked thoroughly bored in its opener at Tulane and home against Howard before going on the road to beat South Florida and Arkansas. At this point I still think Louisville is the better team because it has had its fair share of at least halves of football where it looked absolutely dominant. Louisville owned Kentucky from the opening kickoff and the 32-14 score could've been much worse had they not taken Teddy Bridgewater out midway through the third quarter. And yes, the team that nearly blew a 36-7 second half lead is still the team that also ran up a 36-7 halftime lead as well. Rutgers, is closing the gap, but, like some of Louisville's early wins, we still don't know how meaningful Rutgers' wins over USF and Arkansas are considering Arkansas already lost to Louisiana-Monroe and South Florida followed its loss to Rutgers up by losing at Ball State. Rutgers is improving weekly, Louisville is inconsistent, but has shown more of its upside through four games and for that reason is still the best team in the Big East.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
Rutgers had two major questions coming into the season, at least for its on-the-field personnel: quarterback play and its offensive line. After four games, the Scarlet Knights have proven those two positions are no longer glaring weakness. Gary Nova has been a third-down whiz and he’s proven he can win on the road. Sophomore Kaleb Johnson has locked down the left tackle spot, and sophomore Betim Bujari has secured the problematic center spot. That’s led to four 100-yard games for Jawan Jamison and only two sacks allowed in four games. Even without Greg Schiano, the defense remains solid. I’m a little suspicious of Louisville as well. Teddy Bridgewater is the best offensive player in the league, but I’m concerned about the Cardinals’ defense. It’s been un-Charlie Strong like in the last two games. Ranking 91st in pass efficiency defense? Four sacks all season? That’s might be tough to overcome for a Big East title.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
I have been talking up the Scarlet Knights all summer long as the top Big East contender to Louisville. Rutgers had the best defense in the league last year and has shown vast improvement at quarterback and on offense as a whole. A balanced offense offense, stellar group of talented freshman (possibly the best in school history) and an easy early schedule makes the Knights a dangerous team. This squad could easily begin the season 9-0 before a nasty final three games will determine the Big East's BCS bowl bid: at Cincinnati, at Pitt and Louisville at home. It appears the league will crown a champ when the Cardinals visit Piscataway on the final Thursday night of the season. It this is how the league plays out, I will take the Knights to win on November 29 and clinch the program's first BCS bowl appearance.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
The biggest question mark surrounding Rutgers going into this year was how well it would handle the coaching transition from Greg Schiano to Kyle Flood. So far, the results have been positive, as the Scarlet Knights are 4-0 and have solid road victories against South Florida and Arkansas. Considering the upcoming schedule, it’s not crazy to think Rutgers could be 9-0 going into a Nov. 17 road date at Cincinnati. Despite how well the Scarlet Knights have performed, I have to stick with my preseason favorite: Louisville. The Cardinals had a sluggish performance against FIU in Week 4 but have the Big East’s best quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater), and the defense is capable of playing much better than it has performed so far this year. Louisville’s schedule is just as favorable as Rutgers, so it’s not crazy to think both teams could be unbeaten for their Nov. 29 meeting.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
Tough call. Right now, I’d still give the slight edge to Louisville. Rutgers, the only team in the nation with three road wins, is more battle-tested, but that doesn’t mean the Scarlet Knights are the better team. Through the first two-plus games of the season, Louisville looked like a top-10 team. The Cards, at that time, had convincing wins over Kentucky and Missouri State and led North Carolina 36–7 at the half. Since, however, the Cards haven’t been the same team. They almost blew that 29-point halftime lead vs. UNC and struggled to beat a disappointing FIU team this past Saturday night. Teddy Bridgewater, who was nearly flawless through three games, was not as sharp vs. FIU, completing 19-of-36 for 194 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Cards need him to be the best quarterback in the Big East. Rutgers was surprisingly offensive in its big win at Arkansas last weekend, with Gary Nova leading the way with nearly 400 yards passing and five touchdowns. If Nova continues to play well, Rutgers will remain in the Big East race all season long. And the Big East race might not be decided until Nov. 29, when Louisville visits Rutgers in the season-finale. We might need to wait until that Thursday night to answer this question.

Mark Ross: 
For now, I'll take Louisville mainly because of the emergence of Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The sophomore signal caller has to be considered the early frontrunner for Big East Offensive Player of the Year as he's entered himself into the Heisman Trophy discussion in some circles. Bridgewater has been efficient (23rd in the nation in passing efficiency) and productive (43rd in total offense) in leading the Cardinals to a 4-0 start and Top 20 national ranking. Both teams have been impressive on defense so far, but I give Louisville the edge over Rutgers on offense because of Bridgewater. The good news is, the Cardinals and Scarlet Knights will get the chance to size one another up on the field. The bad news is that everyone has to wait until the final game of the regular season as that's when Louisville makes the trip to Piscataway, N.J., for a game that could likely decide both the Big East conference race and a BCS bid.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I’ll stick with preseason favorite Louisville for now, although Rutgers has the more impressive September resume with wins at USF and Arkansas. We knew that Khaseem Greene and the Scarlet Knights would play solid defense, but new coach Kyle Flood has also found an answer at quarterback in Gary Nova. The sophomore signal caller had a stellar 397-yard, five-touchdown performance versus the Razorbacks last week, and his play combined with runner Jawan Jamison (four 100-yard games) has Rutgers fans thinking about a league title. Meanwhile, Louisville is also undefeated but has looked sluggish in doing it. I’ll give the Cards a pass on almost blowing a 36-7 halftime lead against North Carolina, but the close decision at FIU last week was too close for Cardinal comfort. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a solid backfield tandem should give the UL offense enough punch, but Charlie Strong and staff must repair a talented but inconsistent defense to win the conference. The Cardinals have too much talent on the defensive unit to be giving up so many yards and third-down conversions. I see Louisville getting by Southern Miss this week, and then getting the defense repaired during the bye before league play begins. The good news for the Big East is that it has two ranked schools that could both win double-digit games this season.

Related College Football Content

Are Late Kickoffs Ruining College Football?
College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 4

Post-Week 4 Bowl Projections

Post-Week 4 Heisman Voting

Teaser:
<p> Louisville or Rutgers: Which team is the best in the Big East?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/are-late-kickoffs-ruining-college-football
Body:

An interesting trend is starting to develop each Saturday during the college football season. The schedule has been stacked with quality late games, while the slate of matchups early in the day is rather ordinary. And this isn't going unnoticed, as college football fans are beginning to complain a little louder each week.

Are Late Kickoffs Ruining College Football?

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
A college football Saturday should overload us. But the experience is at its best with a slow and consistent overload from noon Eastern to midnight or later. The Saturday viewing experience should be more like a Crock Pot than a microwave. That’s not what we got last week. Every nationally important game was crammed into the time slot from 7 p.m. Eastern and 10:30 p.m.: Florida State-Clemson, LSU-Auburn, Kansas State-Oklahoma, and Cal-USC, not to mention the upset watch games of Rutgers-Arkansas and Akron-Tennessee.  We’re not at a breaking point yet -- I believe last week’s late night-heavy schedule was the extreme -- but more weeks like that will damage the sport. Watching college football is at its best when it almost mirrors the first day of the NCAA Tournament. A day that has top games all day from beginning to end, but with enough space to allow a Louisiana-Monroe or other upset bid to take center stage for a few minutes. The networks, especially now that Fox is in the mix, all want a piece of the late-night pie. But if we have more weekends like we did last week, it’s going to hurt the sport as a whole. If all the games kickoff after 7 p.m., why should fans without a rooting interest bother to watch noon and 3:30 kickoffs? At least the SEC generally keeps its top game in the afternoon -- something for the other leagues to consider.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
It is unfortunate that the three biggest games of Week 4 all took place at the same time last weekend. Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Florida State likely stretched the viewing audience rather thin, but that feels more coincidental and unlucky than worrisome long-term trend. Otherwise, call me crazy, but I love having one or two late night Pac-12 showdowns to check out on Saturday night. And in the case of this past weekend, we were, again, more unlucky than anything as Arizona State hammered Utah while Oregon shutout Arizona. My biggest issue with scheduling? November 3 when Alabama-LSU and Oregon-USC will take place at exactly the same time. Boo on you greedy TV executives.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
The late kickoffs have been my biggest complaint about the college football season. It’s ridiculous there are so few games on during the early slots and 20-30 games on at night. Trying to watch Notre Dame-Michigan, Florida State-Clemson, Georgia-Vanderbilt, LSU-Auburn and Kansas State-Oklahoma at one time is simply impossible. I don’t understand the logic behind the scheduling of so many night games, but I hope it changes next year. With every conference having a big television contract, having top-notch primetime games are great exposure. However, I think conferences/teams/television networks are scheduling too many games at night and turning the college football Saturday’s into a four-hour block in the evening. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
I wouldn’t say the abundance of late games is ruining college football, but it sure makes it difficult to watch all of the best games on any given Saturday. I don’t care how many TVs you have set up in your living room or Man Cave, it’s difficult to really pay close attention to more than two games at a time. This past Saturday night, there were simply too many good games on at the same time. It would have been much better had a couple of them — maybe Rutgers at Arkansas and Kansas State at Oklahoma — been played during the 3:30 EST window. I really hope this is something that is addressed next year.

Mark Ross: 
The late kickoffs are certainly ruining the amount of sleep I get on Saturday nights, but I don't think they are ruining college football. Let's face it college football has followed the path that the four major sports have in that the schedule is littered with prime-time match ups. Even more so than any of the professional sports, however, the west coast is full of teams whose home games, when played at night, are really only "late" if you live in the Eastern or Central time zones. That said, although I haven't checked the ratings, my guess is NBC's primetime game between Michigan and Notre Dame this past Saturday, which was played in South Bend, Ind., did fairly well, and it didn't kickoff until 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT. In the end, the key factor here is the product itself. Just as it is with sporting events like the MLB playoffs, Monday Night Football, the NBA Finals or the Stanley Cup, as long as it's something worth watching, people will tune in, no matter how late it gets started.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
Primetime kickoffs are quite fun for many fans, but the television networks and conferences do need to make an effort to spread quality games throughout the day. I believe last week’s “overloaded with great matchups” night schedule was a little bit of an aberration and not a huge problem. Thankfully for college football, it’s good to have a product where there are “too many good options.” The powerful SEC usually has its best game in the 3:30pm EST slot, and big-brand schools like Notre Dame and Michigan have not traditionally played many night games like they did the last two seasons. As conference TV contracts get larger, there may be a desire to press too many games up against each other on the primetime schedule. However over time, it would be good to see the networks stagger start times a little more so that the best games are not directly competing.

Related College Football Content

Louisville or Rutgers: Which team is the best in the Big East?
College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 4

Post-Week 4 Bowl Projections

Post-Week 4 Heisman Voting

Teaser:
<p> Are Late Kickoffs Ruining College Football?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 05:44
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-5-plays
Body:

In the world of fantasy football, some team owners are relentless in their search for information that will give them a competitive edge over their competition.  Others just simply rely on projections from so-called experts, who try to convince everyone they have devised a computer program that accurately projects player stats by using a scientific formula so complicated that it makes the Drake equation seem elementary.  Eventually, those computer-driven computations prove no more accurate than an old-fashioned gut feeling.  However, in a quest to find a formula for fantasy success, one should just ask the question, “What are the odds?”

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.  In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 5

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Baylor at West Virginia

Line:  West Virginia – 12.5(O/U-79.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  West Virginia 46-34

Best plays:

Baylor (QB-Nick Florence, WR-Terrence Williams, Tevin Reese, K-Aaron Jones)

West Virginia (QB-Geno Smith, WRs-Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, K-Tyler Bitancurt)

Also consider:

Baylor (RB-Glasco Martin, WR-Lanear Sampson)

West Virginia (RBs-Shawne Alston, Andrew Buie)

theCFFsite projects:  West Virginia 38-28

 

Houston at Rice

Line:  Houston -5 (O/U-74)

Best plays:

Houston (QB-David Piland, RB-Charles Sims, WRs-Dewayne Peace, Daniel Spencer)

Rice (QB-Taylor McHargue-inj, K-Chris Boswell)

Also consider:

Houston (K-Matt Hogan)

Rice (RB-Turner Petersen, WR-Jordan Taylor)

theCFFsite projects:  Houston 41-30

 

Fresno St at Tulsa

Line:  Tulsa -5.5(O/U-69.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Tulsa 38-32

Best plays:

Fresno St (QB-Derek Carr, RB-Robbie Rouse, WRs-Davante Adams, Isaiah Burse)

Tulsa (QB-Cody Green, WR-Keyarris Garrett)

Also consider:

Fresno St (K-Quentin Breshears)

Tulsa (RBs-Trey Watts, JaTerian Douglas)

theCFFsite projects:  Fresno St 35-34

 

Oregon at Washington St

Line:  Oregon -28.5(O/U-70.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oregon 50-21

Best plays:

Washington St (QB-Connor Halliday, WRs-Marquess Wilson, Gabe Marks)

Oregon (QB-Marcus Mariota, RBs-Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas)

Also consider:

Washington St (WR-Isaiah Myers, K-Andrew Furney)

Oregon (TE-Colt Lyerla)

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon 56-14

 

Marshall at Purdue

Line:  Purdue -15.5(O/U-64.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Purdue 40-25

Best plays:

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WRs-Aaron Dobson, Tommy Shuler)

Purdue (QB-Caleb TerBush, RB-Akeem Shavers, RB-Antavian Edison)

Also consider:

Marshall (RB-Kevin Grooms, K-Justin Haig)

Purdue (RB-Akeem Hunt, WR-OJ Ross)

theCFFsite projects:  Marshall 31-28

 

Texas at Oklahoma St

Line:  Texas -2.5(O/U-66)

Projected score based on point spread:  Texas 34-32

Best plays:

Texas (RB-Malcolm Brown, WR-Mike Davis)

Oklahoma St (QB-JW Walsh, RB-Joseph Randle, WRs-Tracy Moore, Josh Cooper, TE-Blake Jackson, K-Quinn Sharp)

Also consider:

Texas (QB-David Ash, WR-Jaxon Shipley)

Oklahoma St (RB-Jeremy Smith)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 24-20

 

One-Sided Matchups(Using the odds to find a dominating ‘D’)

Ole Miss at Alabama

Line:  Alabama -31(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 43-12

Stay away from:

Ole Miss (QB-Bo Wallace, RB-Jeff Scott)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 49-14

 

Boise St at New Mexico

Line:  Boise St -26.5(O/U-51.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Boise St 39-12

Stay away from:

New Mexico (All players)

theCFFsite projects:  Boise St 38-7

 

Hawaii at BYU

Line:  BYU -27.5(O/U-50.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  BYU 39-11

Stay away from:

Hawaii (QB-Sean Schroeder)

theCFFsite projects:  BYU 31-7

 

Buffalo at Connecticut

Line:  Connecticut -17.5(O/U-42.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Connecticut 30-12

Stay away from:

Buffalo (RB-Branden Oliver)

theCFFsite projects:  Connecticut 28-7

 

South Carolina at Kentucky

Line:  South Carolina -21(O/U-47.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  South Carolina 35-13

Stay away from:

Kentucky (WR-La’Rod King)

theCFFsite projects:  South Carolina 30-6

 

Must Watch Games (The games with the biggest headlines)

Ohio St at Michigan St

Line:  Michigan St -3(O/U-43.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan St 23-20

Outlook:  Even though the Buckeyes are not eligible to win the conference and play in a bowl game, they may be the best team in the Big Ten.  However, Braxton Miller’s game-winning drive will come up as the Spartans’ defense will save the day in East Lansing.

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan St 21-17

 

Tennessee at Georgia

Line:  Georgia -13.5(O/U-61.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Georgia 38-24

Outlook:  Two teams headed in opposite directions, the Bulldogs will eventually impose their will and pull away late with their ground attack.

theCFFsite projects:  Georgia 34-21

 

Oregon St at Arizona

Line:  Arizona -3(O/U-56.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Arizona 30-27

Outlook:  The Wildcats are looking to rebound after an abysmal loss in Eugene last week, but the Beavers’ defense looks as if they are in mid-season form.

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon St 31-24

 

Wisconsin at Nebraska

Line:  Nebraska -13.5(O/U-50.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Nebraska 32-19

Outlook:  Week Five’s slate of games must be weak when we feature two Big Ten games on our ‘Must Watch’ list, but it should be interesting to watch Rex Burkhead and Montee Ball in the same game.

theCFFsite projects:  Nebraska 31-14

 

theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (7-4)  ATS: (6-5)

2011 Season:  Straight Up (40-9) ATS: (35-14)

 

By Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 5 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 04:49
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NFL, MLB, Overtime, News
Path: /college-football/15-worst-officiating-moments-sports-history
Body:

Monday night's Green Bay-Seattle game featured one of the most controversial endings in sports history. However, the finish of the Packers-Seahawks game isn't the only moment in sports history that featured a questionable call. Here are 15 (and a few extra) moments that officials changed the course of the game.

15 Worst Officiating Moments in Sports History

2012: Green Bay vs. Seattle: Golden Tate’s Hail Mary "Catch"
Replacement officials made plenty of glaring errors through the first three weeks of the 2012 NFL season but none bigger than the one that occurred between the Seattle-Green Bay matchup on Monday night. With the Seahawks trailing 12-7 with seconds remaining, quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a pass to the corner of the endzone, which appeared to be intercepted by Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings. However, the officials ruled Seattle receiver Golden Tate wrestled away control and award the catch to the Seahawks. Making matters worse for Green Bay, Tate clearly pushed off on a defensive back, which allowed him to get into position for the catch. 


1972 Russia vs. United States Olympic Basketball Gold Medal Game
The United States Olympic basketball team entered the 1972 Games in Munich having never suffered a loss in the history of the Games, and it looked as if their streak would continue with a 50-49 win over the Soviets in the gold medal game. The officials had other ideas. In perhaps the most controversial sports ending ever, the Soviets got three attempts to score. After two questionable clock resettings, a length-of the floor pass was thrown to Alexander Belov, who made a layup at the buzzer for what remains in the record books a 51-50 win — even if the members of the U.S. team refuse to acknowledge it.


Tuck Rule – Oakland vs. New England in 2001 AFC Divisional Playoffs
It’s not unusual for the rules to be changed, tweaked or adjusted from season to season, depending upon the circumstances. For the most part, the changes go largely unnoticed unless something happens to bring them into the spotlight. That was certainly the case in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoffs as the entire world was introduced to what would become known simply as the “Tuck Rule.” Playing in a driving snowstorm at home, New England trailed Oakland 13-10 in the fourth quarter with less than two minutes remaining. Still out of field goal range, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dropped back to pass and dropped the football after being hit. The Raiders recovered and seemingly put an end to the Patriots’ hopes. However, upon further review, referee Walt Coleman reversed the call on the field of a fumble, according to the “Tuck Rule,” which was introduced in 1999. Coleman explained on national TV that Brady had started to throw a forward pass and then lost possession of the ball as he was trying to bring it back, tuck it, into his body. The overturned call made it an incomplete pass and Brady was able to put Adam Vinatieri into position to make a game-tying 45-yard field goal with 27 seconds left on the clock. The Patriots would go on to win in overtime and eventually capture the first of their three Super Bowl titles during the 2000s.

 

1999 Pittsburgh vs. Detroit: Thanksgiving Day Coin Toss
Normally, the refs’ eyesight is called into question, but on Thanksgiving Day 1999, an official’s hearing was the issue. As the Steelers-Lions game headed into overtime, Luckett conducted the coin toss. Steelers captain Jerome Bettis called “tails,” but somehow Luckett heard “heads,” awarding possession to the Lions, who took advantage and won the game. The blunder caused the league to change its coin toss procedure — too little, too late for the Steelers.

 

Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga’s Near-Perfect Game
Detroit starter Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game on June 2, 2010 in Comerica Park against Cleveland when the Indians Jason Donald stepped up to the plate. Donald hit an easy grounder to Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera who flipped the ball to Galaragga covering first, only to watch helplessly as first base umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly ruled Donald safe. Galaragga would retire the next batter for the one-hit shutout, but in the minds of the Tigers team and fans in attendance, the damage had already been done. After the game, Joyce willingly and profusely admitted his mistake and took it upon himself to personally apologize to Galaragga. Both men deserve credit for how each of them handled the situation, as they will be forever linked because of it.

Jerry Meals’ Bad Call at Home Ends 19-inning marathon between Braves and Pirates
No one wants to see any baseball game end on a bad call at home, let alone one that lasted 19 innings, but that’s what happened in Atlanta on July 26, 2011. Actually, the game didn’t officially end until July 27 as the Braves and Pirates started on Tuesday night and played into the early hours of Wednesday morning to settle this one. And in the end, the only reason it ended in the bottom of the 19th was because home plate umpire Jerry Meals egregiously called Julio Lugo safe at home although Pirates catcher Michael McKenry clearly applied the tag before Lugo’s foot crossed the plate. What exactly Meals saw only he can answer, but all you need to do is listen to the contrasting calls by the teams’ respective broadcasts and realize that there’s little doubt he missed this one.

 

The Fifth Down Game – 1990 – Colorado at Missouri
The Buffaloes claimed a share of the 1990 national championship with Georgia Tech, but the season was overshadowed by a controversial finish against Missouri. Colorado was awarded a fifth down late in the game, which allowed it to score the game-winning touchdown. Quarterback Charles Johnson spiked the ball on first down, while running back Eric Bieniemy was stopped at the one-yard line on second down. On third down, Bieniemy was stopped at the goal-line, which forced Johnson to spike the ball on “fourth down”. However, Johnson’s spike on first down apparently went unnoticed, as the Buffaloes scored on a touchdown run on "fifth down" to seal the victory. The Buffaloes went on to finish the year with an 11-1 record and a 10-9 victory over Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl.


Mike Renfro Ruled out of Bounds in 1979 AFC Championship Game
The Pittsburgh Steelers were the NFL’s team of the 1970s winning four Super Bowls in a span of six seasons (1974-79). The team they defeated to get to the last two during this run was the Houston Oilers. While the Oilers put up little resistance in the 1978 AFC Championship Game, losing 34-5, it’s the one that took place the following season that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Oilers fans. Leading 17-10 in the third quarter, Houston wide receiver Mike Renfro appeared to put the Oilers in a position to tie the game, when he made an incredible catch in the back corner of the end zone. Television replays confirmed the catch, but the officials, who did not have the benefit of instant replay back then, ruled it an incompletion. The Oilers had to settle for a field goal and the Steelers would go on to a 27-13 victory.

 

Kent Hrbek’s “Hard Tag” on Ron Gant in 1991 World Series
Who says baseball is not a contact sport? In Game 2 of the 1991 World Series Minnesota first baseman Kent Hrbek and Atlanta outfielder Ron Gant were involved in a play that not only would have made a wreslter proud, but turned out to a be a pivotal play when all was said and done. Trailing by one run in the top of the third, Gant singled to left off of Twins starter Kevin Tapani to seemingly put runners on first and third with two outs and David Justice on deck. The throw from the outfield rolled away from the fielder briefly, however, resulting in Gant taking a fairly wide turn around first. After retrieving the ball, Tapani threw to Hrbek at first in hopes of catching Gant off base. Even though Gant made it safely back to the bag before Hrbek could apply the tag; the burly first baseman lifted Gant off of the first all the while keeping his glove on Gant. Umpire Drew Coble called Gant out, ending the Braves’ threat, and the Twins would go on to win Game 2 by one run, 3-2, and the World Series in seven. Tapani made the out possible by throwing back to first, with Hrbek receiving two points for a textbook takedown.

 

1998 – Seahawks vs. Jets – Vinny Testaverde’s "touchdown"
Although the Seahawks benefitted from a blown call on Monday night, they were the victim of poor officiating in 1998. In an early December matchup in New York, Seattle lost 32-31 on a phantom touchdown run by Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde. With no instant reply, the Seahawks were unable to challenge the call, even though it was clear Testaverde never crossed the goal-line.

 

1986 World Cup: Argentina vs. England
The 1986 World Cup Finals between Argentina and England was one of the most incredible soccer matches in the history of the sport, due in no small part to Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal. Maradona punched the ball with his left hand past the English keeper and into the goal during Argentina’s 2-1 win, and referee Ali Bin Nasser failed to see the infraction. Afterward, Maradona famously commented that his goal came “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” and the phrase entered the sports lexicon. 

 

Cardinals-Royals: 1985 World Series
The Cardinals were three outs away from winning the 1985 World Series, when umpire Don Denkinger infamously intervened. The Cardinals led the Royals three games to two and took a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning of Game 6. The inning's leadoff batter, Jorge Orta, sent a chopper to first baseman Jack Clark, who tossed the ball to pitcher Todd Worrell at first base, clearly beating Orta by a half-step. Clearly, that is, to everyone but Denkinger, who called Orta safe, leading to a two-run rally. The Royals went on to win Game 7 over the deflated Cards 11-0.

 

2006 Oregon vs. Oklahoma: Onside Kick Error
The Sooners suffered a huge blow to their national title hopes in 2006, as bad officiating cost Oklahoma a win in Eugene. The Sooners led 33-20 with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but Oregon scored on a 16-yard touchdown run by Dennis Dixon with just over a minute to go. The Ducks recovered the onside kick, but replay clearly showed the kick hit one of their players before going 10 yards. Although instant replay was used, Oregon kept the ball, and Dennis Dixon hit Brian Paysinger for a 23-yard touchdown pass to win the game. The officials from the Oklahoma-Oregon matchup were suspended one game due to the missed calls late in the fourth quarter.

 

1979 Rose Bowl – USC vs. Michigan: Charles White’s "touchdown"
The 1979 Rose Bowl matchup was a much-anticipated game between two top-five teams. USC entered the 1979 Rose Bowl at 11-1, while Michigan was 10-1. In the second quarter, Charles White appeared to score, which would give USC a 14-3 lead. However, a closer look revealed White fumbled before he reached the endzone and was incorrectly ruled a touchdown by the officiating crew. Considering the final score was 17-10, the “touchdown” proved to be the difference and propelled USC to a finish of No. 1 in the UPI poll.

 

Dallas vs. Buffalo Stanley Cup: Goal or No Goal?
Brett Hull of the Dallas Stars scored the Stanley Cup series-clinching goal in triple overtime of game six against the Buffalo Sabres. Too bad it was apparently illegal, even if the officials allowed it to stand. When Hull scored, his foot was in the crease, but the puck was not — a no-no, even though the NHL tried a semantics tap-dance around the issue by claiming they had issued a memo allowing goals when the scorer had control of the puck prior to his skate entering the crease. The Sabres' reply? "No goal," which became the franchise rallying cry. 

 

Honorable Mention

2005 – Florida vs. Vanderbilt – Earl Bennett’s “celebration penalty”
Winning at Florida is never easy for any team in the SEC, but Vanderbilt’s last win in Gainesville occurred in 1945. The Commodores were on the verge of an upset victory in 2005, as Jay Cutler hit receiver Earl Bennett on a six-yard touchdown pass with less than one minute to go to bring Vanderbilt within one point. The Commodores were prepared to go for two, however, the officials flagged Bennett for excessive celebration, which forced the Commodores to kick the extra point and play for overtime. Bennett’s penalty is one of the most egregious celebration flags in recent memory and prevented Vanderbilt from a two-point conversion that could have won and allowed the Commodores to get bowl eligible. 

 

Chuck Knoblauch’s Phantom Tag in 1999 ALCS
The Red Sox were trailing the Yankees by one when they batted in the bottom of the eighth in Game 4 of the 1999 ALCS. With one out, Jose Offerman singled off of Andy Pettitte to seemingly start a rally. It was quickly snuffed out, however, when John Valentin grounded into an inning-ending double play, one that was made possible by Knoblauch’s now-infamous “Phantom Tag” of Offerman at second, with an assist from second base umpire Tim Tschida. The Yankees would go on to score six more runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away and then put the Red Sox away in with a series-clinching win the next night in Fenway Park. The hated Yankees would break the hearts or Red Sox nation yet again in the 2003 ALCS, this time in seven games, before exacting some revenge the next year in a season that would finally put an end to the “Curse of the Bambino” after 86 years.

Teaser:
<p> 15 Worst Officiating Moments in Sports History</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 11:00
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Week 4 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Thanks to a lackluster showing at Florida, Kentucky's Joker Phillips holds down the No. 1 spot once again. With a surprising loss to Central Michigan, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz makes a big jump in the rankings. While UNLV's Bobby Hauck, Colorado's Jon Embree and Central Michigan's Dan Enos fall after important victories in Week 4.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 4 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank: 1
Record at Kentucky: 12-17 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Considering Florida is one of college football’s top 10-15 teams, there is no shame in losing in Gainesville. However, it’s a problem when a team looks disorganized and looks as bad as Kentucky played on Saturday. With quarterback Maxwell Smith sidelined with a shoulder injury, the Wildcats managed only 60 passing yards and tossed three interceptions. Kentucky’s offense was shut out for the first time since 2006 in SEC play, and the defense had no answer for Florida’s ground or passing attack. As each game passes, it becomes less and less likely Phillips will back in Lexington in 2012.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Record at Boston College: 21-21 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
The Eagles had an off date in Week 4 and return to action this Saturday against Clemson. Boston College’s schedule isn’t going to get any easier, especially with road dates against Army, Florida State and Georgia Tech coming up after this week’s matchup against the Tigers. Spaziani needs to get this team into a bowl to save his job. Considering the upcoming schedule, that’s no sure thing.

3. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Record at Idaho: 19-47 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-4
With victories by Dan Enos, Bobby Hauck and Jon Embree, Akey moves up to the No. 3 spot in the hot seat rankings. In fairness to Akey, the Vandals have played better in the last two games against non-BCS competition, including taking Wyoming to overtime in Week 4. Idaho has another tough road game at North Carolina this Saturday, before returning home for a winnable game against New Mexico State.

4. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Record at Rice: 24-41 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
An early season victory over Kansas was supposed to give Rice some momentum going into Conference USA play. However, the Owls have lost back-to-back games, including their C-USA opener against Marshall. Although the defense continues to be an issue, Rice is averaging 34.3 points a contest, and quarterback Taylor McHargue ranks 13th nationally in total offense per game. While the Owls would prefer to have a 4-0 record, they have been competitive in every game so far this year. Rice takes on rival Houston this Saturday, which is another opportunity for Bailiff to show the program is headed in the right direction.

5. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank:
15
Record at Iowa: 98-68 (14th season)
2012 Record: 2-2
There were plenty of grumblings about Ferentz among the Iowa fanbase before Saturday’s 32-31 defeat to Central Michigan. After losing to the Chippewas in Week 4, it’s fair to wonder if the program is in a slide and if Ferentz can pull out a winning season. Despite the return of quarterback James Vandenberg, Iowa ranks 91st nationally in passing offense and is averaging a pedestrian 20.5 points a game. The Hawkeyes are 3-5 in their last eight games, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with matchups against Minnesota, Michigan State, Penn State and Northwestern. Ferentz has been a solid coach during his time in Iowa State, but it’s time to wonder whether the program has gone too stale.

6. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Record at California: 80-51 (11th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Considering California has played one of the best non-BCS teams (Nevada) and two top 10-15 teams in Ohio State and USC, a 1-3 record isn’t a complete shock. However, the Golden Bears have not looked good at times and struggled to beat FCS opponent Southern Utah in Week 2. Since posting a 17-9 record from 2008-09, California is just 13-16 and has a tough back-to-back homestand against Arizona State and UCLA the next two weeks. Tedford is the winningest coach in school history. Will that be enough to buy him another year if the Golden Bears miss out on the postseason?

7. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Record at MTSU: 37-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
The Blue Raiders had an off date in Week 4 and return to action at Georgia Tech this Saturday. MTSU’s loss to McNeese State in the season opener was a huge disappointment, but the team has rebounded to win back-to-back games. The Blue Raiders are overmatched against the Yellow Jackets but saving Stockstill’s job will likely rest on how well this team performs in Sun Belt play.

8. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank:
16
Record at Buffalo: 6-21 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-2
Quinn had a primetime opportunity in Week 4 to showcase this program is on the right track, but the Bulls were easily handled 23-7 by Kent State. Running back Branden Oliver was sidelined in the second half due to a leg injury, and Buffalo’s offense finished with just 265 yards against the Golden Flashes. The Bulls are just 3-10 in their last 13 games, which includes victories over a bad Akron team last season and Morgan State in Week 2 this year. With games coming up against Connecticut, Ohio, Northern Illinois, Pittsburgh and Toledo, Buffalo could be 1-7 heading into the final month of the season.

9. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank:
14
Record at Syracuse: 18-23 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Although Syracuse is 1-3, its schedule hasn’t been the easiest in college football, as evidenced by an 11-1 record by its BCS opponents. However, Saturday’s loss to Minnesota was discouraging for Marrone and the fanbase, especially after watching the team commit 10 penalties, and the offense give away four turnovers. The Orange has not beat a BCS opponent since a surprising 49-23 victory over West Virginia on Oct. 21, 2011. Considering Marrone is a Syracuse alum, he may have a little more job security than most coaches with an 18-23 record. However, the reality is the Orange have two losing seasons under Marrone and are on their way to No. 3.

10. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
12
Record at Tennessee: 14-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-1
Despite improving to 3-1, Dooley climbs a few spots in the hot seat watch. The Volunteers trailed Akron – one of the worst FBS teams last season – 23-20 late in the second quarter. Although Tennessee earned the victory, it was an uninspiring performance and there were plenty of empty seats in Neyland Stadium at kickoff. The Volunteers begin a tough stretch of SEC play this Saturday at Georgia, followed up by a road date at Mississippi State on Oct. 13. Dooley has Tennessee positioned to return to a bowl game but a 6-6 finish would raise plenty of doubts on whether or not he should return for 2013. 

11. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank:
9
Record at Houston: 1-3 (1st full season)
2012 Record: 0-3
Considering how the first three weeks of the season played out for Houston, the bye week came at a good time for Levine. The Cougars have two losses by at least 17 points and rank 118th nationally in total defense. The offense ranks sixth nationally with 346.7 passing yards per game but has 10 turnovers through three games. Levine’s first season has been a disappointment, and he could use a win over inter-city rival Rice this Saturday.

12. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank:
11
Record at Maryland: 4-12 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 2-2
As the hot seat watch has indicated throughout this year, there has been noticeable improvement for Edsall’s team through the first four games. The Terrapins played well against West Virginia, losing by only 10 points, while freshman quarterback Perry Hills threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the fact Maryland has already matched its win total from last year, its record is still 2-2 and the schedule won’t get any easier the rest of the way. A bowl game seems out of reach, but the Terrapins should be able to finish with four wins.

13. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank:
6
Record at UNLV: 5-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-3
A week after giving Washington State all it could handle, the Rebels cracked the win column with a 38-35 victory over Air Force. The upset over the Falcons was UNLV’s first win since Oct. 29, 2011. Oddly enough, the Rebels have won all five games under Hauck at home, with their last road victory coming on Oct. 24, 2009. Hauck has a dismal record, but all three of the Rebels’ losses this season have been by eight points or less.

14. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
4
Record at Central Michigan: 8-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-1
Could Saturday’s win over Iowa be enough to save Enos’ job? The Chippewas pulled off a huge upset in Iowa City, beating the Hawkeyes 32-31 and giving Enos his best win in his three-year tenure. While Central Michigan has to be riding high after the upset, it needs to quickly refocus with key MAC games against Northern Illinois and Toledo upcoming. Enos has the Chippewas positioned to make a run at a winning season after a 2-1 start but another losing record could spell the end of his tenure at Central Michigan. 

15. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Record at Colorado: 4-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Even though Embree climbed to No. 3 in the hot seat rankings last week, he had enough job security to survive another season. And Saturday’s win over Colorado certainly gives Embree and the coaching staff enough of a boost to show the program is making some (albeit small) progress. The Buffaloes were big underdogs against Washington State but scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to claim a 35-34 victory. Oddly enough, three of Embree’s four career wins in Boulder have come in the Pac-12, including two on the road. Colorado still has a long way to go to be competitive every week in the conference, but Saturday’s win should give this team some confidence going into Week 5 against UCLA.

16. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
17
Record at New Mexico State: 10-32 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
The Aggies had their three-game winning streak against rival New Mexico snapped on Saturday, losing 27-14 in Las Cruces. Walker has one of college football’s most difficult jobs, so it’s hard to expect 7-5 or 8-4 seasons. Progress has been slow under Walker’s tenure, but the Aggies won four games last season and seem to be on the right track heading into 2012. Considering New Mexico State’s uncertain conference affiliation, it’s hard to see Walker getting fired, unless this team completely bombs in the second half of 2012.

17. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
13
Record at Auburn: 31-13 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Despite the loss to LSU, Auburn showed some signs of life in Week 4. The defense limited LSU to 182 yards on the ground and never allowed Zach Mettenberger to get comfortable in the pocket. While the offense continued to struggle, Auburn’s defense showed it can keep this team in plenty of games this year. The Tigers have a bye week this Saturday and continue SEC play with a home game against Arkansas on Oct. 6.

18. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at South Florida: 15-14 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-2
Barring a complete collapse, Holtz is probably in no real danger of losing his job. However, South Florida was expected to be one of the frontrunners for the Big East title in 2012 and is off to a disappointing 2-2 start. The Bulls have a road loss at Ball State, a 10-point defeat to Rutgers and a narrow one-point win over Nevada. After losing seven out of its final eight games last year, combined with the slow start in 2012, the pressure is beginning to build on Holtz in South Florida.

19. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
19
Record at Western Michigan: 49-41 (8th season)
2012 Record: 2-2
After falling just short of beating their first two BCS opponents of 2012 (Illinois and Minnesota), the Broncos picked up a 30-24 victory over Connecticut in Week 4. Quarterback Alex Carder suffered a hand injury but still finished with 237 yards and one touchdown. The defense delivered late, as Desmond Bozeman returned a fumble 53 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. Western Michigan was expected to be the frontrunner for the MAC West title in 2012. So far, the Broncos have done nothing to lower those expectations.

20. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week’s Rank:
19
Record at Texas Tech: 16-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-0
The Red Raiders are off to a solid 3-0 start and had an off date in Week 4 to prepare for their Big 12 opener against Iowa State. Texas Tech is riding a five-game losing streak in Big 12 games entering Saturday’s date against the Cyclones, with its last conference victory coming against Oklahoma on Oct. 22. After a dismal showing on defense last year, the Red Raiders’ coaching staff has to be pleased to be ranked No. 1 in the nation after four weeks. However, the real test for this unit begins on Saturday in Ames.

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Record at Arkansas:
1-3
2012 Record: 1-3
As we mention each week in the hot seat watch, Smith is essentially on a one-year contract, so he was never expected to return for 2013. However, he is worthy of a mention in this space, especially as Arkansas is off to a disappointing 1-3 start. Of course, not having quarterback Tyler Wilson for the second half against UL Monroe and for any snaps against Alabama hurts, but the Razorbacks were expected to challenge for the SEC title. 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Sept. 25, 2012)
 

Related College Football Content

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ACC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
College Football Week 4 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 4 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-4-bowl-projections
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College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only three weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games. 

With little data to work with, the post-Week 4 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 4 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl Date Tie-In Projected Matchup
New Mexico Dec. 15 MWC vs. Pac-12 Arizona State vs. San Diego State
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 15 MAC vs. WAC Utah State vs. N. Illinois
Poinsettia Dec. 20 BYU vs. MWC BYU vs. Nevada
Beef 'O'Brady's Dec. 21 Big East vs. C-USA East Carolina vs. South Florida
New Orleans Dec. 22 Sun Belt vs. C-USA UL Lafayette vs. Marshall
Las Vegas Dec. 22 MWC vs. Pac-12 Oregon State vs. Boise State
Hawaii Dec. 24 C-USA vs. MWC Fresno State vs. SMU
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC Minnesota vs. Toledo
Military Dec. 27 ACC vs. Army Vanderbilt* vs. Virginia
Belk Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big East Georgia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Holiday Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 UCLA vs. TCU
Independence Dec. 28 ACC vs. SEC Wake Forest vs. Arkansas
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big East Clemson vs. Rutgers
Meineke Car Care Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Baylor vs. Purdue
Armed Forces Dec. 29 C-USA vs. MWC Houston vs. Wyoming
Kraft Fight Hunger Dec. 29 Pac-12 vs. Navy Navy vs. Washington
Pinstripe Dec. 29 Big East vs. Big 12 Texas Tech vs. Pittsburgh
Alamo Dec. 29 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Stanford vs. Oklahoma
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Oklahoma State vs. N'Western
Music City Dec. 31 SEC vs. ACC Miami (Fla.) vs. Auburn
Sun Dec. 31 ACC vs. Pac-12 Arizona vs. NC State
Liberty Dec. 31 SEC vs. C-USA Texas A&M vs. Tulsa
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 ACC vs. SEC Virginia Tech vs. Miss. State
TicketCity Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. C-USA Illinois vs. UTEP
TaxSlayer.com Gator Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Tennessee vs. Wisconsin
Capital One Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Georgia vs. Michigan
Outback Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Michigan State vs. Florida
Cotton Jan. 4 Big 12 vs. SEC West Virginia vs. So. Carolina
BBVA Compass Jan. 5 SEC vs. Big East Missouri vs. South Florida
GoDaddy.com Jan. 6 MAC vs. Sun Belt Arkansas State vs. Ohio
       
BCS Bowls      
Rose Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Nebraska vs. USC
Orange Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Florida State vs. Louisville
Sugar Jan. 2 BCS vs. BCS LSU vs. Kansas State
Fiesta Jan. 3 BCS vs. BCS Texas vs. Notre Dame
National Title Jan. 7 BCS vs. BCS Oregon vs. Alabama


* Indicates an at-large team due to a conference unable to fill bowl slots according to Athlon's projections.


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Sept. 25, 2012)

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<p> College Football Post-Week 4 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 05:59
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Four weeks into the season, we are looking for consistency or the ability of a player to take advantage of an opportunity.  The former is the reason why Brandon Carter and Allen Robinson land on this week’s list, while Tony Gregory capitalized on his first career start in Blacksburg.

Waiver Wire: Post-Week 4 Pickups

Dominique Blackman, QB-Idaho

Blackman has attempted at least 36 passes in each of his three starts and the Vandals have two decent matchups in the next three weeks, as they host New Mexico State on October 6 and travel to Texas State October 13.

Tony Gregory, RB-Virginia Tech

Gregory could end up being a one-week wonder, but the potential to be the Hokies’ main back makes him an intriguing mid-season addition.

James Sims, RB-Kansas

We wondered how Sims would be utilized when he returned from suspension.  Rushing for 91 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries against TCU answered that question.

Adam Muema, RB-San Diego St

Muema has landed on our Emergency Starters list a couple of times and has been productive when the matchups were favorable.  After a road trip to Fresno State this week, Muema and the Aztecs return home to host Hawaii and Colorado State.

Donnell Kirkwood, RB-Minnesota

Kirkwood made our Emergency Starters list last week and after two straight games with 20-plus carries, he should add some depth to your backfield rotation.

Chris Thompson, RB-Florida St

The Seminoles have had the luxury of using many backs this season, but we found out Saturday night against Clemson that Thompson will get a heavy workload when the game is on the line.

Brandon Carter, WR-TCU

After catching five passes for 128 yards and a touchdown Saturday against Kansas, Carter may be a better fantasy option than fellow receivers Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson as the Horned Frogs head into conference play.

Brandin Cooks, WR-Oregon St

In two games, Cooks has caught 12 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns.  He and Markus Wheaton form what may be the second-best receiving duo in the PAC-12 behind Robert Woods and Marqise Lee of USC.

Allen Robinson, WR-Penn St

Shame on us for leaving Robinson off this list the past couple of weeks, but he is the best thing the Nittany Lions have on offense and should produce in the defensively-challenged Big Ten.

 

Last Week’s Waiver Wire Suggestions

Kolton Browning, QB-UL-Monroe (272 pass yards, 2TD, 49 rush yards, TD vs Baylor—28 points)

Rakeem Cato, QB-Marshall (259 pass yards, 2TD at Rice—18 points)

Terrence Owens, QB-Toledo (290 pass yards, 3TD, rush TD vs Coastal Carolina—29 points)

Jawan Jamison, RB-Rutgers (118 rush yards, 23 receiving yards, TD at Arkansas—21 points)

Dreyon Chance, RB-Western Michigan (66 rush yards, TD vs Connecticut—12 points)

Antonio Andrews, RB-Western Kentucky (136 rush yards, 74 receiving yards, 2TD vs USM—35 points)

Jordan Hall, RB-Ohio St (105 rush yards, 21 receiving yards vs UAB—14 points)

Tevin King, RB-LA Tech (37 rush yards, 2TD at Illinois—16 points)

Andre Davis, WR-South Florida (21 receiving yards, TD at Ball St—10 points)

Devin Smith, WR-Ohio St (4 receptions for 39 yards vs UAB—7 points—16 points)

Marquelo Suel, WR-Akron (12 receptions for 92 yards at Tennessee—21 points)

Mike Evans, WR-Texas A&M (5 receptions for 41 yards vs SC St—9 points)

Chris Coyle, TE-Arizona St (5 receptions for 62 yards vs Utah—11 points)

 

by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

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Email:  joe@thecffsite.com

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Post date: Monday, September 24, 2012 - 22:26
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The ACC's chance in the national spotlight didn't disappoint. Florida State-Clemson provided one of 2012's most entertaining games, with the Seminoles coming out on top. Miami's overtime win over Georgia Tech headlined the rest of the action in the conference.

Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State – Manuel earned his signature win at Florida State, recording 482 total yards in a huge win over Clemson.

2. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – Ellington was held largely in check against Florida State (55 yards) but leads the ACC with an average of 95.8 rushing yards per game.

3. Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest – Campanaro has been Tanner Price’s go-to target this year, recording at least nine receptions in three out of four games. The junior has 36 catches through four contests.
 

Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner suffered a hand injury against Clemson and was relatively quiet on the stat sheet with four tackles.

2. Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland – Vellano continued his solid season with six tackles (two for a loss) against West Virginia.

3. David Amerson, CB, NC State – Amerson has stepped up since a bad season opener, recording three tackles and one interception against Citadel in Week 4.
 

Coach of the Year Standings

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles officially stamped their place in the national title mix with a big win over Clemson on Saturday night.

2. Al Golden, Miami – The Hurricanes are far from a perfect team, but Golden deserves some credit for leading Miami to a 42-36 victory over Georgia Tech in Week 4.

3. David Cutcliffe, Duke – The Blue Devils are halfway to bowl eligibility and are coming off a big 38-14 victory over Memphis in Week 4.

Post-Week 4 ACC Power Rankings

1. Florida State (4-0, 2-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
1
Week 4 result: Beat Clemson 49-37
Is Florida State back? That question will seemingly continue to hang around the program until the Seminoles make an appearance in the national title game. However, after Saturday night’s win against Clemson, Florida State has to be taken seriously as a national title contender. The Seminoles fell behind early but rallied behind quarterback EJ Manuel. The senior was nearly flawless on Saturday night, throwing for 380 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 102 yards on 12 attempts. Although the defense gave up 37 points, it put the clamps on Clemson’s high-powered attack in the second half. Not only was the win huge for Florida State’s national title hopes, but it is clearly in the driver’s seat for the ACC Atlantic crown.
Next Game: at South Florida

2. Clemson (3-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Week 4 result: Lost to Florida State 49-37
Even after a loss in Tallahassee, it’s hard to penalize the Tigers in the power rankings. Clemson led Florida State 28-14 in the third quarter but was simply overpowered by a better opponent in the second half. The Tigers did a good job of using misdirection and formations to slow down the Seminoles’ defense, however, the offense was bottled up in the final two quarters. Clemson’s defense was gashed for 287 rushing yards, while the secondary allowed 380 yards to Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. The Tigers should bounce back in Week 5 against Boston College.
Next Game: at Boston College

3. Virginia Tech (3-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
4
Week 4 result: Beat Bowling Green 37-0
A week after a surprising loss to Pittsburgh, Bowling Green was the perfect medicine for the Hokies. Thanks to a solid performance from quarterback Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech jumped out to a 21-0 lead at halftime and never looked back. Thomas finished with three overall scores, while the defense held the Falcons under 300 yards. The Hokies step out of conference for the final time of the season, playing Cincinnati at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
Next Game: Cincinnati (Landover, Md.)

4. Miami (3-1, 2-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
9
Week 4 result: Beat Georgia Tech 42-36
Somehow, the Hurricanes pulled out a 42-36 win over Georgia Tech in Week 4. In one of the strangest games of the season, Miami jumped out to a 19-0 lead, only to fall behind 36-19 late in the third quarter. However, the Hurricanes scored 23 unanswered points, including the game-winning score in overtime to seal the upset. Miami’s defense has struggled all season, and it allowed Georgia Tech to rush for 287 yards. The Hurricanes made up for their struggles on defense with a potent offense, including 436 passing yards and two touchdowns by quarterback Stephen Morris.
Next Game: NC State

5. Georgia Tech (2-2, 1-2 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Week 4 result: Lost to Miami 42-36
As we indicated above with the Miami writeup, Georgia Tech’s loss on Saturday was one of college football’s most bizarre outcomes of the season. The Yellow Jackets fell behind 19-0 but held a 36-19 lead late in the third quarter. That wasn’t enough to hold off the Hurricanes, as they rallied for a 42-36 victory in overtime. As expected, Georgia Tech’s offense had its way with Miami, but the Yellow Jackets struggled to get stops on defense. With two ACC losses, Georgia Tech faces an uphill battle to win the Coastal.
Next Game: MTSU

6. NC State (3-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Week 4 result: Beat Citadel 52-14
The Wolfpack have rebounded nicely since losing to Tennessee in Week 1. Tom O’Brien’s team has recorded three straight victories, including a 52-14 win over Citadel in Week 4. Quarterback Mike Glennon has not tossed an interception in the last three weeks, and the defense has allowed only 28 points during that stretch. The competition steps up for NC State this Saturday, as it travels to Miami to take on the Hurricanes and hosts Florida State in Week 6.
Next Game: at Miami

7. Wake Forest (3-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Week 4 result: Beat Army 49-37
The Demon Deacons had a tough assignment in Week 4. After a brutal 52-0 beatdown at the hands of Florida State, Wake Forest had to take on a tricky Army team last Saturday. The Black Knights gave the Demon Deacons all they could handle, rushing for 429 yards and four touchdowns. However, Wake Forest’s balanced offense was simply too much in the end and held on for a 49-37 victory. The Demon Deacons will play two of their next three games on the road but host ACC rival Duke this Saturday.
Next Game: Duke

8. North Carolina (2-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Week 4 result: Beat East Carolina 27-6
After back-to-back close losses, the Tar Heels returned to the win column with a solid 27-6 victory over East Carolina. The offense got a huge boost with the return of running back Giovani Bernard. The sophomore rushed for 50 yards and one touchdown and added six receptions for 52 yards and one score. North Carolina’s defense had rough performances against Wake Forest and Louisville but allowed only 233 yards to the Pirates.
Next Game: Idaho

9. Virginia (2-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Week 4 result: Lost 27-7 to TCU
The Cavaliers’ struggles on offense continued with a 27-7 loss in Fort Worth against TCU. Quarterback Michael Rocco completed only 13 of 28 throws and tossed two interceptions. Backup Phillip Sims moved the offense late in the fourth quarter and could see more time in Week 5. Virginia’s defense had no answer for TCU quarterback Casey Pachall, giving up 305 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers won’t have much time to regroup, especially with an upset-minded and dangerous Louisiana Tech team coming to town in Week 5.
Next Game: Louisiana Tech

10. Duke (3-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Week 4 result: Beat Memphis 38-14
Going into the season, most felt this was David Cutcliffe’s best team at Duke. So far, the Blue Devils have handled their business, capped by a dominating 38-14 victory over Memphis in Week 4. Duke’s defense has been hit hard by injuries but allowed just 152 yards to the Tigers. Quarterback Sean Renfree had a strong game for the Blue Devils, throwing for 314 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Jela Duncan gave the ground game a spark, recording 88 yards on nine attempts. Duke is halfway to bowl eligibility, but the schedule gets tougher the rest of the way with all ACC games on the schedule.
Next Game: at Wake Forest

11. Boston College (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
11
Week 4 result: Bye Week
The Eagles had an off date in Week 4 and return to the field this Saturday against Clemson. The upcoming stretch is an important one for Boston College, as its bowl hopes could ride on the next three or four games. The Eagles will be underdogs in three of its next four games, and this team cannot afford to get blown out and slump to 2-6 or 1-7 record at the end of October.
Next Game: Clemson

12. Maryland (2-2, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
12
Week 4 result: Lost to West Virginia 31-21
Even though it was a loss, Maryland deserves some credit for its Week 4 performance. The Terrapins were not blown out as some expected and gave West Virginia a good fight through all four quarters. Quarterback Perry Hills bounced back from a brutal blindside hit at the end of the first half and finished with 305 yards and three touchdowns. As expected, West Virginia’s offense was eventually too much, but the Terrapins did a good job of limiting the Mountaineers’ rushing attack and getting after quarterback Geno Smith.
Next Game: Wake Forest (Oct. 6)
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

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College Football Week 4 Recap

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Post date: Monday, September 24, 2012 - 06:00
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Week 4 provided a few surprises in Big 12 play. Kansas State shocked Oklahoma in Norman, allowing the Wildcats to jump from No. 5 in Athlon's power rankings to No. 2. Kansas State is one of the least flashy teams in the nation but always finds a way to win. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas and Iowa State had a bye week, while West Virginia knocked off Maryland and TCU beat Virginia. 
 

Post-Week 4 Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Texas (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
2
Week 4 Result: Bye Week
It’s a close call between the Longhorns and Kansas State for the No. 1 spot in the Big 12. Texas gets the slight edge, but it’s really team 1A and 1B at this point.  The Longhorns had a bye in Week 4 and return to action this Saturday at Oklahoma State. The biggest question mark for Texas entering Big 12 play is quarterback David Ash. The sophomore has 703 yards and seven touchdowns through the first three weeks but a road game at Oklahoma State will be his biggest test. With Oklahoma suffering a loss to Kansas State, the race to win the Big 12 title is wide open.
Next Game: at Oklahoma State

2. Kansas State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 5
Week 4 Result: Beat Oklahoma 24-19
Just as we mentioned above, it’s essentially a 1A and 1B situation in Athlon’s Big 12 power rankings. The Wildcats scored one of Week 4’s most impressive victories, beating Oklahoma 24-19 in Norman. Quarterback Collin Klein carried the offense, throwing for 149 yards and adding 79 yards and one score on the ground. The defense limited the Sooners to 88 rushing yards and forced three turnovers. Kansas State isn’t the Big 12’s flashiest team but always finds a way to win. With upcoming games against Kansas and Iowa State, the Wildcats could be 6-0 before an Oct. 20 showdown against West Virginia.
Next Game: Kansas (Oct. 6)

3. West Virginia (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 3
Week 4 Result: Beat Maryland 31-21
It wasn’t the blowout some expected, but the Mountaineers were never really in any danger of losing to the Terrapins. West Virginia jumped out to a 24-14 halftime lead and held on for a 31-21 victory. Quarterback Geno Smith completed 30 of 43 throws for 338 yards, with receiver Tavon Austin catching 13 passes for 179 yards and three touchdown tosses. The Mountaineers gave up 351 yards to Maryland’s offense but scored on a 51-yard fumble return in the first quarter. With a new scheme and a handful of new starters, West Virginia’s defense will be a work in progress through the first half of the season.
Next Game: Baylor

4. Oklahoma (2-1, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week: 1
Week 4 Result: Lost 24-19 to Kansas State
After a sluggish performance against UTEP to open the season, most expected the Sooners would figure things out before Big 12 play arrived. Apparently not. Oklahoma dropped its first game of the year on Saturday, as Kansas State posted a 24-19 victory in Norman. Quarterback Landry Jones had a sluggish performance, completing 28 of 43 throws for 298 yards and one touchdown. The rushing attack was invisible, and the defense had no answer for Kansas State’s ground game. Oklahoma has another bye week this Saturday, which comes at a good time considering the performance against the Wildcats.
Next Game: at Texas Tech (Oct. 6)

5. TCU (3-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 4
Week 4 Result: Beat Virginia 27-7
Three weeks, three impressive showings for the Horned Frogs. TCU held Virginia scoreless for 55 minutes, before the Cavaliers punched in a five-yard touchdown pass to end the shutout. Quarterback Casey Pachall threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, while Matthew Tucker led the way with 52 yards on the ground. After three games, TCU leads the nation in scoring defense and ranks ninth in yards allowed.
Next Game: at SMU

6. Oklahoma State (2-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
6
Week 4 Result: Bye Week
The Cowboys had a bye week in Week 4 and return to action against Texas this Saturday. The biggest question mark facing Oklahoma State against the Longhorns has to be who starts under center. Wes Lunt suffered a knee injury against Louisiana-Lafayette, and his status for Week 5 is uncertain. If Lunt can’t play, J.W. Walsh will get the nod. The Cowboys are looking for their third consecutive win over the Longhorns.
Next Game: Texas

7. Baylor (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
7
Week 4 Result: Beat UL-Monroe 47-42
As expected, Baylor’s Friday night road test against ULM was no easy matchup. The Bears fell behind 21-7 but rallied to take a 24-21 halftime lead. Quarterback Nick Florence had an uneven start, before finding his rhythm and throwing for 351 yards and four touchdowns. The Bears got a nice boost on the ground from Glasco Martin, who rushed for 58 yards and one touchdown on 18 attempts. The defense allowed 560 yards but forced three turnovers and picked up two sacks. While Baylor has needed comebacks to beat Sam Houston State and ULM the last two weeks, the true test for this team will come in Big 12 play, starting this week at West Virginia.
Next Game: at West Virginia

8. Iowa State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
8
Week 4 Result: Bye Week
The Cyclones finished the non-conference portion of their schedule 3-0 and open Big 12 play this Saturday against Texas Tech. Iowa State’s defense has been rock solid so far, allowing just 280 yards per game. The offense has room to improve, especially in limiting turnovers. The Cyclones have won the last two matchups against the Red Raiders, including a 41-7 blowout victory in Lubbock last year.
Next Game: Texas Tech

9. Texas Tech (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 9
Week 4 Result: Bye Week
The Red Raiders were off in Week 4 and open Big 12 play in Week 5 against Iowa State. Although it’s way too early to make any final assessments about Texas Tech’s defense, the early results have been positive. The Red Raiders are allowing just 160.3 yards per game and no opponent has managed more than 14 points through three games. Texas Tech’s schedule gets tougher the next few weeks, but the early results have been positive for the defense.
Next Game: at Iowa State

10. Kansas (1-2, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
10
Week 4 Result: Lost to Northern Illinois 30-23
The Jayhawks held a 23-13 lead going into the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to beat Northern Illinois. The Huskies scored 17 points in the final period to give Kansas its third consecutive loss and a defeat in 12 out of its last 13 games. Running back James Sims returned from a three-game suspension to lead the Jayhawks with 89 yards and two touchdowns. However, quarterback Dayne Crist struggled (10 of 26), and the defense allowed Northern Illinois’ quarterback Jordan Lynch to record 370 total yards and two scores. Charlie Weis and his staff clearly has a lot of work to do, and the Jayhawks will struggle just to earn a win in Big 12 play.
Next Game: at Kansas State (Oct. 6)

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Post date: Monday, September 24, 2012 - 05:58
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College football’s premier matchup for Week 4 takes place in Tallahassee. Florida State and Clemson have combined for a 6-0 start, but this will be the first ACC contest for both teams.

Are the Seminoles back? That’s the question hovering over this team for the past couple of years. Although it’s early, Florida State looks like a serious contender for the national title. Sure, the competition has been light through the first three weeks, but the depth and talent in the program is getting back to the levels Florida State had in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Clemson is the defending ACC champs but has won only one matchup in Tallahassee since 1992. The Tigers opened the year with a solid victory over Auburn and handled Ball State and Furman in their next two matchups.

Five Things to Watch in Clemson vs. Florida State

1. Florida State’s defensive line vs. Clemson’s offensive line
There is plenty of firepower for both teams at the skill positions, but the matchup in the trenches will decide this game. Florida State owns one of college football’s top defensive lines and has allowed just 33.7 rushing yards per game through three contests. The headliner is junior Bjoern Werner, who has recorded nine tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks this season. Clemson’s offensive line has not allowed a sack the last two weeks but gave up four in the opener against Auburn. The Tigers have the ACC’s top trio – quarterback Tajh Boyd, running back Andre Ellington and receiver Sammy Watkins – but will struggle to get on track if the offensive line does not perform. Werner isn’t the only standout up front, as Florida State’s line is overflowing with depth, including senior Tank Carradine and sophomore Timmy Jernigan. Considering Clemson’s uncertainty on the offensive line, Florida State should be able to win the battle up front on defense.

2. Clemson’s receivers vs. Florida State’s secondary
With Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins leading the way, the Tigers have one of college football’s best receiving corps. Watkins missed the first two weeks of the season due to a suspension but caught four passes for 52 yards in his return. Hopkins has 26 receptions through the first two weeks, including 13 in the season opener against Auburn. Florida State’s secondary has yet to be tested but leads the nation by allowing just 69.7 passing yards per game. Junior Xavier Rhodes is one of the ACC’s top cover corners, but Clemson will test sophomore Nick Waisome on the other side. With Greg Reid’s dismissal from the team in the offseason, the Seminoles are short on experience at the spot opposite of Rhodes. If Clemson gives quarterback Tajh Boyd enough time to throw, he will have opportunities to find Watkins or Hopkins for big plays downfield.

3. Can Florida State protect EJ Manuel?
The offensive lines are clearly under the microscope on Saturday night. Clemson’s front five will be tested by a deep Florida State defensive front, while the Seminoles are anxious to see how their line performs against the Tigers. Florida State’s offensive line was a question mark all last season and is still a work in progress. This unit paved the way for the Seminoles to rush for 385 yards and four touchdowns last week, but pass protection was an issue. The Tigers are reloading on the defensive front but will be Florida State’s toughest test so far. Expect coach Jimbo Fisher to move Manuel out of the pocket and call some designed runs to slow down Clemson’s pass rush.

4.  Which team will make a play on special teams?
As with any big game, the battle on special teams will be something to monitor. Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins is one of the best kickers in college football, while Clemson’s Chandler Catanzaro has connected on all six of his attempts, and punter Spencer Benton hit a 61-yard field goal against Ball State. Returns are slightly in Clemson’s favor, especially with Watkins’ return to the lineup. The sophomore averaged 25 yards on kick returns last season and took one back for a score. Florida State will counter with Rashad Greene on punt returns, who is averaging 19.6 yards per return and has taken two for scores this year.

5. Chris Thompson vs. Andre Ellington
Neither team was able to generate much of a rushing attack in last season’s game. Florida State managed just 29 yards, while Clemson had 99 on 50 attempts. The Tigers will look to get Andre Ellington involved a little more this season, and the senior is off to a strong start. In the opener against Auburn, he rushed for 228 yards and has four touchdowns in his last two games. Chris Thompson is one of the best stories in college football, as he missed nearly all of last season with a broken back and has shown no ill-effects from that injury, gashing Wake Forest for 197 yards and two touchdowns last week. The team that wins the rushing battle won’t necessarily win the game, but both squads need to get the ball to Ellington and Thompson to give them opportunities to make big plays.

Final Analysis

Not only is this a huge game for the ACC, but both teams need to win to keep alive in the national title hunt. For Florida State, an impressive win over Clemson would help signal this team is officially back as a national title contender. If the Tigers win, it would be a huge boost to their hopes of repeating as ACC champions.

Florida State didn’t have EJ Manuel in last season’s game, yet nearly won in Death Valley. If the Seminoles can protect Manuel, while the defense holds Watkins, Boyd and Ellington in check, Florida State should move to 4-0 and take a commanding lead for the ACC Atlantic title.

Prediction: Florida State 31-24
 

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Post date: Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 08:28
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College football's Week 4 slate doesn't feature a ton of huge matchups, but there's plenty of impact games. Florida State-Clemson is a marquee ACC battle between two top-10 teams, while Michigan travels to Notre Dame. As usual, the SEC always has a few intriguing contests that are must-see games. Vanderbilt travels to Georgia, LSU hits the road for a matchup against Auburn and new SEC member Missouri takes on South Carolina. 

Top Storylines to Watch in Week 4

1. Who will stake an early claim for the ACC title: Clemson or Florida State?
The ACC hasn’t had many big games on a national scale in recent years, but Saturday night’s matchup between Florida State and Clemson will have BCS title implications. The loser of this game is probably out of the picture when it comes to a national title, while the winner takes a huge step towards winning the ACC title. Clemson has been tested a little more this season, as the Tigers beat Auburn in the season opener, while Florida State played two FCS teams (Murray State and Savannah State) to start the year. The battle in the trenches will be especially important for this game. Clemson and Florida State’s offensive line came into the year with question marks, and both units have yet to emerge as a strength. If the Seminoles’ defensive line controls the line of scrimmage, it will be tough for the Tigers to get quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver Sammy Watkins on track.

2. Oklahoma looks to take early control of the Big 12
Most of the Big 12 teams have played only non-conference games thus far, so this week’s Oklahoma-Kansas State matchup is an early opportunity to seize control of the conference. The Sooners have dominated the recent series, as Kansas State’s last win in a regular-season meeting came in 1997. For the Wildcats to have any shot at winning on Saturday night, quarterback Collin Klein has to get on track. In last season’s meeting, Klein had just 150 yards of total offense, which won’t get it done this time around. The Sooners will gear up to stop Klein, while looking to get its passing game on track. Kansas State’s secondary has struggled in the first three weeks of the season and will be tested against Landry Jones and his receivers.

3. Is Notre Dame ready to be a national title contender?
After a 20-3 win over Michigan State last week, Notre Dame has positioned itself for a run at a BCS bowl. It’s early, so the Irish still have a lot to prove. However, if the first three games have shown anything, Notre Dame seems to have corrected its turnover program from last season and fixed its quarterback issues. Redshirt freshman Everett Golson still has a lot to learn, but is a clear upgrade over Tommy Rees. This Saturday presents another challenge for the Irish, with Michigan set to visit South Bend. The Wolverines are still trying to find the right pieces on the offensive and defensive lines, but Denard Robinson has torched Notre Dame in the last two meetings. This is a relatively even matchup, so once again, turnovers are crucial. If the Irish don’t turn the ball over and win the battle in the trenches, they should be able to hold Robinson in check and snap a three-game losing streak to Michigan.

4. Does Auburn have any chance to beat LSU?
So far, Auburn has shown nothing to suggest it can beat LSU this week. The offense has struggled to get anything going through the air, while the defense ranks a disappointing 94th in yards allowed. LSU is dealing with a few injuries on the offensive line and in the backfield, but remains one of college football’s top teams. This will be the first big road test for quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who should be a big upgrade under center for LSU over Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. With a road date against Florida in two weeks, it’s important for the Tigers to get Mettenberger comfortable before the competition increases. Winning on the road in the SEC is never easy, but all signs point to a LSU rout on Saturday night.

5. Oregon… the new Pac-12 favorite?
With USC losing to Stanford, the focus shifts to Oregon as the Pac-12’s best hope at playing for a national title. However, the Ducks have yet to be tested, as Arizona will be their toughest game through the first four weeks of the season. The scoreboard operator should be busy, especially with both teams averaging over 45 points a game. Oregon redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota has been solid through the first three starts of his career, recording 782 overall yards and eight touchdowns. The Wildcats should be able to move the ball, especially with quarterback Matt Scott and running back Ka’Deem Carey combining to average over 450 yards a game. Both teams won’t field a dominant defense in this matchup but getting timely stops is crucial to the outcome. Look for Oregon to make a few more stops than Arizona, which will help the Ducks pull away in the fourth quarter.

Six Intriguing Under-the-Radar Games to Watch

Louisiana Tech at Illinois
The Bulldogs are one of the best non-BCS teams and has won nine of their last 10 games. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is expected to return after missing the last two weeks with an ankle injury. The Fighting Illini owns one of the Big Ten’s best defenses, but they will be tested by a Louisiana Tech offense averaging 56 points a game.

Miami at Georgia Tech
Can the Hurricanes slow down Georgia Tech? Miami’s defense has been invisible against BCS competition, allowing 32 points to Boston College and 52 to Kansas State. The Hurricanes rank 102nd nationally against the run – a bad sign against a Georgia Tech team averaging 374 rushing yards per game.

Fresno State at Tulsa
These teams are quietly two of the best from the non-BCS conferences. The Bulldogs ran wild over Colorado last week, winning 69-14 to move to 2-1 this season. Tulsa lost to Iowa State in the opener, but looks like the favorite to win Conference USA’s West Division. With both teams averaging over 40 points a game, this matchup could be one of the highest-scoring games of Week 4.

Utah at Arizona State
The Sun Devils have experienced some interesting luck this year, as Saturday’s game against Utah will be their third consecutive matchup against a team with a backup quarterback. The Utes are coming off of a huge win against rival BYU last Saturday and should get injured running back John White back in the lineup this week. Arizona State is 2-0 at home this year and with games coming up against California, Oregon and UCLA, this is a must-win game to keep pace with the Bruins in the Pac-12 South.

Rutgers at Arkansas
The Razorbacks aren’t going to win a national title, but there’s plenty for this team to salvage the rest of the way. Arkansas will have its hands full with Rutgers this Saturday, especially if quarterback Tyler Wilson isn’t able to play. The Scarlet Knights own one of the Big East’s top defenses, while their offense is rapidly improving under sophomores Gary Nova (QB) and Jawan Jamison (RB).

Vanderbilt at Georgia
These two teams met for an entertaining 33-28 matchup in Nashville last season, but the real fireworks started after the game. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham exchanged words after the final whistle, and there’s no love lost between these two teams.

Teams Looking to Bounce Back

North Carolina – With East Carolina visiting Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels should snap a two-game losing streak. However, the bigger concern is the health of running back Giovani Bernard. The sophomore has missed the last two games due to a knee injury, and his status is up in the air for this week’s contest.

Tennessee – There’s no shame in losing to Florida, but the Volunteers’ second-half performance left a lot to be desired. Akron won’t present much of a challenge, which is good news for a Tennessee team looking to build confidence with Georgia and Mississippi State up next.

Virginia Tech – The Hokies’ performance against an 0-2 Pittsburgh team was one of the biggest surprises from Week 3. Both sides of the ball struggled, especially a rushing attack that generated just 59 yards. Virginia Tech should get back into the win column against Bowling Green, but it’s important for this team to find some answers.

USC – If the Trojans want to have any shot at playing for the national title, they have to win out and look impressive in the process. The road to climbing back in the national title picture starts against California – a team USC has won eight consecutive matchups against.

Virginia – The Cavaliers were steamrolled in last week’s 56-20 loss to Georgia Tech, allowing the Yellow Jackets to rush for 461 yards and seven touchdowns. Virginia has struggled to get its rushing game on track, which is bad news for an offense that lacks a dynamic passing attack. With a trip to TCU on tap this Saturday, the Cavaliers will have a tough time getting back into the win coloumn.

Wake Forest – A week after picking up a solid win against North Carolina, the Demon Deacons were demolished 52-0 by Florida State. Wake Forest should beat Army this Saturday, but the Black Knights are never an easy matchup.

Teams Desperate For a Win

Arkansas – After last week’s 52-0 loss to Alabama, the Razorbacks need something positive before SEC play picks back up on Sept. 29 at Texas A&M. Quarterback Tyler Wilson is close to returning, which should help spark the offense against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights’ defense is allowing only 8.3 points a game, so it’s no guarantee Wilson’s return will be enough for Arkansas to win this game.

Auburn – Sure, the Tigers won last week, but it wasn’t exactly the most impressive showing. Auburn needed overtime to beat Louisiana-Monroe, and this team still has plenty of question marks, which loom large against LSU this Saturday. To win in Baton Rouge, Auburn will need a flawless effort from quarterback Kiehl Frazier and for its defense to slow down LSU’s rushing attack. It’s possible, but unlikely considering how much Auburn has struggled through the first three weeks.

California – Jeff Tedford’s seat isn’t getting any cooler, especially as the Golden Bears are off to a 1-2 start. California played tough at Ohio State, but moral victories aren’t going to get it done. The Golden Bears play at USC this Saturday, where they have not won at since 2000. As Stanford showed last week, the Trojans are vulnerable. Can California take advantage of the question marks and pull off a key victory this Saturday?

Quarterbacks Under Pressure

Austyn Carta-Samuels, Vanderbilt – Carta-Samuels transferred to Vanderbilt after starting two years at Wyoming. He was an efficient 13 of 20 for 195 yards and one touchdown in the win over Presbyterian, but the competition (Georgia) will be much tougher this Saturday.

Kiehl Frazier, Auburn – It seems Frazier gets mentioned in this section each week, but his performance against Louisiana-Monroe didn’t do much to ease the concerns about the Tigers' quarterback play. The sophomore completed 10 of 18 passes for 130 yards, one touchdown and one interception, with a chunk of his yardage coming on a 33-yard Hail Mary scoring strike to end the first half.

Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State – Maxwell deserves time to grow into the starting job, but his first three starts have produced mixed results. He threw for 248 yards and three interceptions in the 17-13 win over Boise State and completed 23 of 45 passes for 187 yards in the loss to Notre Dame. Since Eastern Michigan visits East Lansing this Saturday, the Spartans will have an opportunity to work out the kinks in the passing game.

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech – Thomas is in no danger of losing his starting job, but he needs a good performance to erase last weekend’s awful showing. The junior completed 14 of 31 passes for 265 yards and three interceptions in the loss to Pittsburgh. With Bowling Green up next, all signs point to Thomas putting up a big performance on Saturday.

Michael Rocco, Virginia – With a struggling rushing attack, it’s up to Rocco to take on a bigger role in Virginia’s offense. The junior hasn’t been awful through three weeks, throwing for 712 yards and four touchdowns, but he has tossed three picks and is coming off of a forgettable performance against Georgia Tech. If the Cavaliers want to knock off TCU this Saturday, they need a big game from Rocco.

Joel Stave, Wisconsin – The Badgers are desperately looking for a spark on offense. Danny O’Brien threw for 454 yards and three touchdowns in the first three games but was benched in favor of Stave against Utah State. The redshirt freshman was just 2 of 6 for 15 yards, but the coaching staff will give him a chance to ignite the offense against UTEP this Saturday.

Injuries to watch

Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – Bernard has missed the last two games due to a knee injury. Larry Fedora doesn’t say much about injuries, so Bernard’s status could be in question until kickoff. Even if Bernard plays this week against East Carolina, the Tar Heels can afford to limit his touches.

Damon Bullock, RB, Iowa – Depth in the Hawkeyes’ backfield took another hit with Bullock’s injury against Northern Iowa last week. Bullock is not expected to play against Central Michigan this Saturday.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska – Burkhead left the season opener against Southern Miss with a knee injury and is expected to return to the field for this week’s game against Idaho State.

James Franklin, QB, Missouri – Franklin sat out last week’s game against Arizona State due to a shoulder injury. The junior is expected to play this Saturday, which is a crucial game for Missouri, as it looks to avoid an 0-2 start in the SEC.

MarQueis Gray, QB, Minnesota – Gray suffered a high ankle sprain in last week’s win over Western Michigan. Backup Max Shortell has experience and is a capable replacement. However, the Golden Gophers will miss Gray’s playmaking ability on the ground if he can’t start.

Montel Harris, RB, Temple – Harris has not played since posting 12 yards on five carries against Villanova in the season opener. The senior is dealing with a hamstring injury but could return this Saturday against Penn State.

Khaled Holmes, C, USC – Holmes was clearly missed last week, as USC struggled to block Stanford’s aggressive front seven. The senior may not be able to play this week, which means junior Abe Markowitz will get the call at center.

Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia – Jones missed last week’s game against FAU due to a groin injury. The junior is expected to play this Saturday, especially with a key SEC East game against Vanderbilt on the schedule.

John White, RB, Utah – White missed last week’s rivalry game against BYU due to an ankle injury. The Utes need the senior back in the lineup if they want to win on the road against Arizona State.

Nikita Whitlock, DT, Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons clearly missed Whitlock last week, as Florida State rushed for 385 yards and four touchdowns against Wake Forest. Whitlock is not expected to play this Saturday, which is bad news for the Demon Deacons against one of the nation’s top rushing offenses.

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas – In order for Arkansas to get back into the win column, Wilson has to play on Saturday against Rutgers. The senior sat out against Alabama due to a concussion and could be a game-time decision on Saturday.

Upset Watch

Baylor at Louisiana-Monroe (+7) (Friday)
The Warhawks beat Arkansas in Week 2 and nearly knocked off Auburn last Saturday. Louisiana-Monroe should have no shortage of confidence after its performances against SEC teams, so this will be no easy matchup for Baylor.
Prediction: Baylor 41-31

Kansas (+9) at Northern Illinois
It’s a little strange to see a BCS team as a nine-point underdog, but the Jayhawks lost to Rice in Week 2 and barely beat the Huskies last season. Although Kansas is an underdog, it should hold Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch in check long enough to win.
Prediction: Kansas 31-27

South Florida at Ball State (+10)
The Bulls are reeling after last week’s 23-13 loss to Rutgers, while the Cardinals are riding a wave of momentum thanks to the last-second win over Indiana last week. The battle in the trenches will be crucial, as South Florida’s defensive line could dominate the line of scrimmage and limit Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning and running back Jahwan Edwards.
Prediction: South Florida 34-31

Syracuse (+1) at Minnesota
Considering the line has hovered around one point all week, it’s hard to consider this an upset. However, Minnesota will likely be without quarterback MarQueis Gray, and Syracuse suffered close back-to-back losses against Northwestern and USC to open the year.
Prediction: Syracuse 31-27

Connecticut at Western Michigan (+1)
Just like Syracuse-Minnesota, it’s hard to call a one-point spread much of an upset. However, the Broncos knocked off Connecticut in Storrs last season, and a high-powered offense led by senior quarterback Alex Carder will give the Huskies all they can handle.
Prediction: Connecticut 27-24

Six Games to Avoid this Saturday

Maryland at West Virginia
At first glance, the Terrapins would seem to have a shot against the Mountaineers, especially with a defense that ranks sixth nationally against the pass. However, a deeper look into the numbers reveals Maryland has yet to play an offense with a developed passing attack. The Terrapins’ offense is averaging only 258.3 yards per game – a number West Virginia should equal at halftime.

FAU at Alabama
Talk about a coaching mismatch: Carl Pelini vs. Nick Saban.

Colorado at Washington State
If the Buffaloes continue on their current path, they could finish 2012 with the worst season by a team in a BCS conference since 1998. Colorado’s offense is averaging 19.7 points a game, while the defense is allowing 479.7 yards and 40.3 points a game. Washington State is struggling to find the right mix under new coach Mike Leach, but the Buffaloes are in for a long afternoon against the Cougars’ offense.

Idaho State at Nebraska
The Cornhuskers still have concerns about the defense, but running back Rex Burkhead is back, and Idaho State shouldn’t present much of a challenge for Bo Pelini’s team.

UAB at Ohio State
The only storyline to monitor in this game is Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller. The sophomore is averaging 19 rushing attempts per game – a number Urban Meyer and his staff would like to see decrease the rest of the year.

Kentucky at Florida
Even though the Gators are coming off of a huge road win at Tennessee, don’t expect any letdown against Kentucky. Florida has not lost to the Wildcats since 1986 and only five matchups since 1990 have been decided by 10 points or less. 


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

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Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 4 Preview: Match-Ups, Upset Picks and Storylines to Watch</p>
Post date: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 06:31
Path: /college-football/nebraska-football-are-cornhuskers-best-team-big-ten
Body:

It's early, but it's not a stretch to say the Big Ten has been one of the most disappointing conferences in college football. Michigan wasn't competitive in its season opener against Alabama, Nebraska fell on the road to UCLA, and Michigan State was dominated by Notre Dame. 

Is Nebraska the best team in the Big Ten?

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
Only if you slept through the weekend of Sept. 8 and UCLA’s 36-30 win over the Cornhuskers. The Big Ten’s not great, but not bad enough for a team with an erratic quarterback and porous run defense to win the league. I asked myself this: Where will Nebraska stand after the first weekend in November? One Big Ten loss? Two? Three? In that span, Nebraska goes to Ohio State, which may have the best team in the Big Ten despite its postseason ban. Then Nebraska faces Michigan in Lincoln and Michigan State on the road. All have good run games. Ohio State can force a turnover or two, and Michigan State, the Notre Dame loss notwithstanding, may have the best defense in the Big Ten. And I haven’t even mentioned a road trip to Northwestern, a team that beat Nebraska 28-25 in Lincoln last season. I’m not ready to make the leap for Nebraska as the league’s best team.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
No, but can I reserve the right to change my opinion? Ohio State seems like it has the best all-around combination of talent, coaching and schedule to finish the regular season with the best record. Nebraska and Michigan both have to visit the Horseshoe and trips to East Lansing and Madison don't seem as daunting today as they appeared in Week 1. Urban Meyer also has the best player in the league in quarterback Braxton Miller, who, if he survives the entire season, could be in New York come December. Nebraska is very good and could very well win the Big Ten crown against some fledgling Leaders Division place-holder, but the Buckeyes should be the best team at season's end.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I thought Ohio State was the best team in the Big Ten going into the season, and I’ve seen nothing that makes me want to change my opinion. As long as Denard Robinson stays healthy, Michigan should push for nine or ten wins, but the offensive and defensive lines are a concern. Michigan State might have the conference’s best defense, while running back Le’Veon Bell could challenge for All-American honors. However, quarterback Andrew Maxwell has struggled and needs more time to develop a rapport with an inexperienced receiving corps. Quarterback Taylor Martinez has looked great for Nebraska, but surprisingly, the defense has question marks. I think the Cornhuskers have a great chance to win the Legends Division, but still believe Ohio State is the No. 1 team in the conference.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
I’d have to go with Ohio State as the best team in the Big Ten at this point in the season — almost by default. The Buckeyes haven’t always looked great, but they beat a solid UCF team in Week 2 and then survived a scare from California last Saturday. Ohio State doesn’t have an abundance of talent at the skill positions, but the Buckeyes will have the best player on the field in almost every game they play. Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller is thriving under first-year coach Urban Meyer, and don’t be surprised if he makes the trip to New York in December as a Heisman finalist. Regarding Nebraska, it’s hard to proclaim a team that gave up 653 yards of offense to UCLA as the best in any league. I credit the Huskers for testing themselves on the road — something Ohio State has yet to do — but that was an alarming defensive performance in Week 2.

Mark Ross: 
Nebraska has been fairly impressive so far, but the Cornhuskers will only go as far as quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Rex Burkhead can carry them. Burkhead has missed the last two games with a knee injury, but is expected to be back on the field perhaps as early as this week. As long as he's not limited too much by the knee, his presence only helps Martinez, who has done a much better job in the pocket and with ball security this season. For now, given the questions surrounding Michigan State's quarterback situation and struggling offense and Michigan's issues on both lines, Nebraska, if healthy, appears to have the upper hand in the Legends division.

The Leaders is entirely up for grabs mainly because of Ohio State being ineligible for postseason play. My vote for the Big Ten's best team right now would go to the Buckeyes, who are 3-0 thanks to the arm and legs of quarterback Braxton Miller and gotten just enough out of their defense thus far. Urban Meyer's squad is the most balanced team in my opinion right now, but it matters little since the Buckeyes can't play in the Big Ten title game. When is a championship game not a true title game? When the best team in the league can't play in it, and just like the Pac-12 had to go through last season with USC ineligible, that's the scenario the Big Ten appears headed for this season with Ohio State.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I would say no after three games, but that could change in a few weeks. Ohio State has been the most impressive B1G club so far, even though tackling was an issue in the close home win over Cal. Since the Buckeyes are ineligible for the postseason, let’s look at the best team that can win the league title in Indianapolis. I would give Michigan State the slight edge (just by one of Zeke’s frisbees) over Michigan and Nebraska right now, but MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell must show marked improvement soon. Obviously Denard Robinson is a big-time playmaker against most defenses, but the Wolverines’ struggles against the run — something the Spartans and Cornhuskers do very well — are very concerning.  Nebraska could be the team in the Legends if the defense can to start performing better for new coordinator John Papuchis. Will Compton and crew played well against Arkansas State, but I still can’t get those 653 total yards in the UCLA loss out of my head. Taylor Martinez has been a solid passer through three games, and we know that his running combined with excellent tailbacks Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah will put points on the board. If the NU defense can rise to the occasion against division opponents, the Huskers will be right there to play for the Big Ten championship.

 

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Teaser:
<p> Nebraska Football: Are the Cornhuskers the Best Team in the Big Ten?</p>
Post date: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 06:11
Path: /college-football/notre-dame-football-are-fighting-irish-national-title-contender
Body:

Notre Dame is 3-0 and ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation. After a win at Michigan State, the Irish are in position to make a run at a BCS bid. However, can the Irish start to think about a national title berth? A tough schedule that features games against Oklahoma, USC and Stanford will test this team, but does Notre Dame have the personnel to go 12-0?

Is Notre Dame a National Title Contender?

Coach Bill Mallory, former head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I’ve got a son a Curt Mallory who is the secondary coach at Michigan. He feels they’re definitely improved from last year. And I’ve been watching them get better, too. They’ve been very good on defense. They’re more sound. They’re better balanced with the run and the pass. It’s more complete. They’re better against the run and the pass. I see more maturity there. To me it looks like a sounder defense. That was very evident last week. They really shut Michigan State down. Going into the season, we [the Legends Poll] felt Michigan State was the best team in the Big Ten. I would rank Notre Dame now around 15th in the country. I don’t feel that strong about being a top 10 team. They’re going with the young quarterback. That offense will get better as the season goes along. It’s a team that has to be watched. I’d think they have makings of being a very good football.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
A BCS contender, maybe. A national championship contender, not yet. Don’t get me wrong, the Michigan State win was a notable feat -- no turnovers against that defense, holding the Spartans to a field goal on the road. But we still don’t know how Notre Dame will fare against an elite passer, not when the Irish has faced Caleb TerBush and Andrew Maxwell. Road trips to face Landry Jones and Matt Barkley are on a brutal schedule. The Michigan State win is to be applauded for sure, but it’s going to be tough to win many games if Notre Dame continues to convert only 1 of 14 third downs. There’s reason to be optimistic, but not enough to start feeling confident about a big bowl game, much less a national title.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
No, Notre Dame isn't a national title contender. At least, no yet. Quarterback play has been this team's undoing for years and I am not sure Brian Kelly has plugged that leak entirely. I'm a huge fan of Everett Golson and think he has a chance to be a perfect fit for Kelly's spread offense, but he will make a couple of key mistakes along the way because that is what freshman do. The defense is downright nasty and few teams will be able to run the ball against them, which gives ND an intriguing Xs and Os match-up against, say, an SEC champ. Or Oregon. But the schedule seems too difficult for the Irish to finish the season unblemished — something they would likely have to do to be in the national title game. Is Notre Dame back, however? It certainly seems that way.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I don’t think Notre Dame is ready to challenge for a national title this season, but it can certainly make a BCS bowl. The Fighting Irish are clearly headed in the right direction, spearheaded by a defense that has allowed just 30 points through three games and is generating 3.7 sacks a game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson will only get better with more playing time, especially as some of the young receivers in the program (DaVaris Daniels, Davonte’ Neal and Chris Brown) have a chance to pickup Brian Kelly’s system. While the early results for Notre Dame are promising, a schedule that features games against Michigan, Stanford, Oklahoma and USC is simply too much to navigate for a national title this year. However, Kelly is the right coach and will have the Irish in the mix for an at-large BCS bid this year.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
No. The Fighting Irish are better than they were a year ago and are showing signs of returning to elite status, but I’m not ready to put them in national championship race. This team is still limited offensively — though Everett Golson is showing a lot of positive signs at quarterback — and the secondary will be an issue when Notre Dame meets a team with a legitimate passing attack. You have to be impressed with the Irish’s performance at Michigan State on Saturday night, but they are not quite ready to beat teams like Alabama, LSU or Oregon.

Mark Ross: 
As long as the Fighting Irish keep winning, they will be in the discussion as a national title contender. Because of its schedule, Notre Dame is in the best position of any non-BCS conference school to crash the party, if you will, and steal a spot in the national championship game from an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC school, although it will be difficult. That said, Notre Dame will certainly get plenty of opportunities to state its case. Starting with this Saturday's tilt with Michigan, Notre Dame has games remaining against teams from every BCS conference with the exception of the SEC. Besides the Wolverines, these games include road games at Oklahoma and USC, along with a home date against Stanford. Those are four opportunities at signature victories that the Irish must capitalize on if they want to remain in the discussion. If they can come up big when the spotlight is on, such as they did in beating Michigan State in East Lansing last Saturday night, both the voters and computers will have to give Brian Kelly's team its due. The onus, however, is also on the Fighting Irish, who can't afford any slip ups against its other remaining opponents, which include Miami (Fla.), Brigham Young and Pittsburgh. One of the unique things about college football, at least until the new playoff system starts in 2014, is that the regular season really does matter as it's No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the end. That's even more true for Notre Dame as the Irish don't have a conference championship game to support its win total or body of work when it comes to the BCS standings. If Notre Dame runs the table and finishes 12-0, I think it will be very difficult, but not impossible by any means as we have seen, to not present the Irish with a shot at their 14th national title.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I do not see Notre Dame as part of the BCS title conversation yet, but Brian Kelly does have the Fighting Irish program headed back towards elite status. The ND schedule still has many tough opponents, but Bob Diaco’s defense should keep the Irish in most games. However to put Notre Dame in the national championship hunt, I will need to see a little more explosiveness on offense and the secondary hold up against a solid passing attack. Redshirt freshman Everett Golson seems to be the answer at quarterback, but there is immense room for growth with both him and the receivers. Oklahoma and USC will challenge ND’s inexperienced corners, and the loss of senior safety Jamoris Slaughter is significant. Michigan and Stanford will also be challenging, but Notre Dame fans should be pleased with the current momentum after dominating Michigan State.

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Teaser:
<p> Notre Dame Football: Are the Fighting Irish a National Title Contender?</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 13:11
All taxonomy terms: Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten, News
Path: /news/penn-state-football-new-billboard-shows-support-joe-paterno
Body:

The Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State is one of the worst in NCAA history. Although Sandusky's trial is over, and the Nittany Lions have learned their fate from the NCAA, this story won't be going away anytime soon.

Former coach Joe Paterno has been the subject of criticism since the allegations came to the surface. However, he still has plenty of of support in State College. 

This billboard recently popped up in State College, pledging support for the former coach amid the NCAA sanctions and allegations since they broke last season.

Here's a look at the billboard, tweeted by @OnwardState

Teaser:
<p> Penn State Football: New Billboard Shows Support for Joe Paterno</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 12:35
Path: /college-football/acc-week-4-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The ACC will be under the spotlight this weekend. Clemson and Florida State meet in Tallahassee on Saturday night, and the winner of this matchup will take an early, but commanding lead for the ACC Atlantic crown. Miami and Georgia Tech meet in a key Coastal contest, while Virginia travels to TCU and Maryland plays at West Virginia.

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ACC's Top Storylines for Week 4

1. Can Clemson’s offensive line block Florida State?
The biggest question mark surrounding Clemson’s offense coming into the season was its line. With the departure of three key performers, the Tigers had big concerns about protecting quarterback Tajh Boyd. The line has been a mixed bag of results through the first three weeks, as Clemson is averaging 5.2 yards per rush and has scored seven rushing touchdowns. The Tigers have allowed only four sacks but all of them came in the opener against Auburn. Considering Florida State’s defensive line is even better than Auburn, Clemson’s coaching staff has to be worried. The Tigers have the ACC’s best set of playmakers on offense, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, running back Andre Ellington and receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. However, if the line can’t protect Boyd, Clemson’s offense will struggle to move the ball against the Seminoles.

2. Will Florida State’s offensive line protect EJ Manuel?
Just like Clemson, the biggest question surrounding Florida State in the preseason was its offensive line. This unit was a major weakness last season and features three sophomore starters for Saturday’s matchup. Florida State has yet to be tested by a top-25 team, but the line showed promise in last week’s victory over Wake Forest, recording 385 rushing yards and four touchdowns. However, quarterback EJ Manuel was sacked three times, and the Demon Deacons were able to get consistent pressure in the pocket. Clemson’s defensive line is inexperienced and has generated only three sacks through the first three games. This is the biggest test for Florida State’s offensive line, and a passing grade would go a long way to helping the Seminoles remain in the national title picture.

3. Can Miami’s defense slow down Georgia Tech?
The combination of youth and inexperience has produced some awful results for Miami’s defense so far this season. The Hurricanes rank 102nd against the run, 86th against the pass and are allowing 463.3 yards per game. Making matters worse for Miami is the loss of linebacker Denzel Perryman, who will sit out this week’s game due to an ankle injury suffered in last week’s win over Bethune-Cookman. Considering the struggles through the first three weeks of the season, Georgia Tech’s option attack is the worst possible matchup for the Hurricanes. The Yellow Jackets rank third nationally in rushing offense and had two scoring plays over 70 yards in last week’s win over Virginia. Miami has plenty of speed and athleticism to matchup against the option attack, but it will need its best effort of the year to slow down Georgia Tech this Saturday.

4. Can North Carolina win without Giovani Bernard?
Larry Fedora doesn’t say much about injuries, so it’s hard to know how serious Giovani Bernard’s knee really is. However, the sophomore running back hasn’t played in the last two games, and North Carolina has lost back-to-back contests. Bernard’s status isn’t as critical for this week’s game against East Carolina and the Week 5 matchup against Idaho. However, the sophomore will be needed for the Oct. 6 showdown against Virginia Tech. Considering he really has only one half under his belt in Fedora’s new offense, North Carolina probably would like to get Bernard some game action over the next couple of weeks. Bernard doesn’t need to play for the Tar Heels to beat East Carolina, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get him prepared for ACC competition.

5. Does Maryland have any shot of beating West Virginia?
It’s hard to envision the Terrapins having the firepower to pull off an upset over West Virginia this Saturday. Maryland’s offense ranks 119th in the nation with an average of just 258.3 yards per game, and freshman quarterback Perry Hills isn't putting much fear into defenses so far. However, the Terrapins have options at running back, and receiver Stefon Diggs is a playmaker. Despite having some promising young talent, it’s unrealistic to expect the Terrapins to be able to match West Virginia’s scoring ability. For Maryland to have any shot at winning on Saturday, the defense has to force a few turnovers and create pressure on Mountaineers’ quarterback Geno Smith. The Terrapins ranks sixth nationally in pass defense but have yet to face a quarterback with as much ability as Smith. Anything can happen, but Maryland faces an uphill battle just to keep this game close going into the second half.

6. What’s wrong with Virginia’s offense?
A year after finishing fourth in the ACC in rushing offense, the Cavaliers’ ground attack ranks 107th nationally, and Perry Jones has barely been involved in the offense over the last two weeks (29 yards). It’s no secret Virginia doesn’t have a dynamic passing attack, which only adds to the importance of establishing the ground game. With Jones and Kevin Parks struggling to find running room, quarterback Michael Rocco has gotten off to a sluggish start, tossing three interceptions and throwing for only 143 yards in the 56-20 loss to Georgia Tech. It’s not fair to blame Rocco for all of Virginia’s struggles, especially with an offensive line that is struggling to open up rushing lanes for Parks and Jones. Getting back on track won’t be easy for the Cavaliers this Saturday, as TCU has allowed only six points through the first two weeks of the season.  

7. Wake Forest, Virginia Tech look to get back on track
The Demon Deacons and Hokies suffered tough losses last week, and both look to get back on track in Week 4. Wake Forest was a heavy underdog against Florida State, and the Seminoles made quick work of the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest was blown out 52-0, managed only 126 yards and gave up 385 rushing yards. The Hokies were heavy favorites against Pittsburgh – a team that lost to Youngstown State and Cincinnati open the year – but didn’t put up much of a fight against the Panthers, losing 35-17. Both teams should get back into the win column this Saturday, as the Demon Deacons take on Army and Virginia Tech hosts Bowling Green. While these matchups aren’t as exciting as Clemson-Florida State, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech need to get back on track with key games ahead in Week 5.  
 

ACC Week 4 Predictions

ACC Week 4 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Bowling Green at Virginia Tech VT 28-14 VT 38-13 VT 34-13 VT 34-13
Maryland at West Virginia WVU 52-10 WVU 41-21 WVU 45-17 WVU 41-10
Virginia at TCU TCU 21-17 TCU 31-21 TCU 30-13 TCU 27-17
Army at Wake Forest WF 35-21 WF 34-13 WF 34-17 WF 30-10
Miami at Georgia Tech GT 42-21 GT 31-17 GT 38-24 GT 37-24
East Carolina at North Carolina UNC 35-14 UNC 31-17 UNC 38-17 UNC 27-10
Citadel at NC State NC State 42-10 NC State 42-10 NC State 41-13 NC State 41-3
Memphis at Duke Duke 35-21 Duke 34-14 Duke 42-17 Duke 38-10
Clemson at Florida State FSU 35-21 FSU 34-28 FSU 31-24 FSU 34-24
Last Week: 9-1 8-2 9-1 9-1
Season Record: 27-4 28-3 27-4 27-4

 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

 


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Teaser:
<p> ACC Week 4 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 06:02
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-4-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Non-conference play highlights the majority of the college football action this Saturday in the Big 12. Two teams take on opponents from the ACC (Virginia vs. TCU and Maryland vs. West Virginia), while Kansas travels to Northern Illinois and Baylor takes on Louisiana-Monroe. The biggest game of the Week 4 slate in the Big 12 is Oklahoma hosting Kansas State.

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Big 12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 4

1. What does Kansas State need to do in order to upset Oklahoma?
Outside of the 2003 Big 12 Championship, the Wildcats haven’t had much success against Oklahoma. Kansas State has lost its last four games by at least 12 points to the Sooners, while its last victory in a regular season matchup came in 1997. Needless to say, the odds aren’t in the Wildcats’ favor for Saturday’s game. For Kansas State to knock off Oklahoma, its secondary has to play its best game of the year, while the offense has to move the ball through the air. Collin Klein is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, but he managed only 150 yards in last season’s meeting against the Sooners. While Klein has carried the team on his back, he needs other players to step up. Running back John Hubert opened the year with back-to-back 100-yard efforts, while receiver/return specialist Tyler Lockett has just nine touches on offense this season. If the Wildcats open up the offense some, they should be able to move the ball on Oklahoma. However, can they stop the Sooners? Kansas State has allowed 251 passing yards per game this year – a bad sign after playing Missouri State, Miami and North Texas.

2. Will Maryland’s defense slow down West Virginia’s offense?
The Mountaineers have been nearly flawless through the first two weeks of the season, averaging 55.5 points and 612 yards per game. Quarterback Geno Smith has thrown only nine incompletions, while tossing nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, will Smith and West Virginia’s offense struggle against Maryland this Saturday? The Terrapins rank sixth nationally in pass defense and are allowing only 19 points a game. A deeper look into those numbers suggests the Terrapins have yet to be tested. Temple and Connecticut both attempted less than 20 passes against Maryland, and neither possesses the firepower that the Mountaineers have. Although the Terrapins’ defensive line could create a few issues for Smith, the only thing that could slow down West Virginia’s offense at this point is turnovers and penalties. 

3. Can Oklahoma slow down Collin Klein once again?
In last season’s 58-17 win over Kansas State, Oklahoma limited Klein to just 150 overall yards. There’s no question Klein is the most valuable member of the Wildcats’ offense, so stopping him will be crucial for the Sooners. Oklahoma’s defense features a revamped front seven, which is allowing 134 rushing yards per game through their first two games of 2012. Expect the Sooners to try and make Klein one-dimensional and force Kansas State to win this game through the air. If the Wildcats can establish Klein and running back John Hubert, they should be able to control the clock and hang around this game deep into the fourth quarter.

4. Can Baylor avoid the upset?
Considering what has transpired the first two weeks of the season, the Bears certainly won’t take Louisiana-Monroe lightly. The Warhawks knocked off Arkansas in Week 2 and nearly won at Auburn last Saturday. Baylor is coming off a sluggish performance against Sam Houston State, as it trailed at halftime before rallying for a 48-23 victory. Louisiana-Monroe is a dangerous opponent for the Bears, especially with the confidence it has developed playing SEC teams over the last two weeks. Expect quarterback Kolton Browning to test Baylor’s secondary, especially since it ranks 113th nationally by allowing 323.5 yards per game. The Bears should be able to move the ball against Louisiana-Monroe’s defense, but this is a game where a turnover or key play on special teams could swing the momentum in favor of the underdog.

5. Will TCU’s defense continue to dominate?
With only five returning starters, some expected the Horned Frogs would take a while to find the right pieces on defense. However, this defense has been dominant through the first two games of the season, shutting out Grambling in the season opener and holding Kansas to six points last week. Sophomore linebacker Joel Hasley has been one of the season’s biggest surprises, recording 17 tackles and two sacks, while freshman defensive end Devonte Fields has 3.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. The competition steps up a notch this Saturday, as Virginia visits Fort Worth. The Cavaliers have scored only 18.5 points a game against BCS teams this season and rank 107th nationally in rushing offense. Virginia has struggled on the offensive line, which is bad news against TCU’s disruptive defensive line.  Although the Cavaliers should present the toughest offense TCU has played against this year, the Horned Frogs still have a decided edge in this matchup.

6. Will Kansas’ defense slow down Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch?
Although the Jayhawks are allowing 433.7 yards per game, they are giving up just 20.7 points each contest. A big reason why the defense has been able to hold opponents out of the end zone has been turnovers and sacks. The defense has generated six sacks and 12 turnovers through the first three games, which is crucial for a unit that lacks depth, speed and talent. Northern Illinois lost to Kansas 45-42 last season and will present another tough challenge for the Jayhawks once again. Quarterback Jordan Lynch recorded 467 overall yards in the win over Army and has 10 overall scores through the first three weeks of the season. The Huskies have been struggling to establish a consistent ground attack from its running backs, but Lynch has been a difference marker on the ground and has been hitting a few big plays in the passing game. Kansas will allow some yards to Lynch, but it cannot allow the junior quarterback to run wild on Saturday.

7. Will Lache Seastrunk receive more playing time?
One of the biggest surprises in the Big 12 through the first three weeks of the season has been the lack of playing time for Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk. The Oregon transfer has been productive with his limited opportunities, averaging 13.5 yards per rush on four attempts. Starter Jarred Salubi is averaging 5.8 yards per rush on 30 attempts and is clearly the No. 1 back for Baylor. However, Seastrunk is an important weapon and his big-play ability would be an extra boost to an offense that is already one of the best in the Big 12. Is Friday night the game Seastrunk has a breakout performance?

8. Where does James Sims fit in for Kansas’ offense?
The Jayhawks are averaging 178.3 yards per game on the ground and should get a boost with the return of James Sims this weekend. Sims missed the first three games due to a suspension but led the team with 727 yards and nine rushing scores last year. Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox have been solid, but Sims is the most complete back on the roster. With three capable running backs, Charlie Weis needs to find a way to get plenty of opportunities for each player and get them onto the field at the same time. Sims could reclaim the starting job at some point this year, but Pierson and Cox will likely handle the bulk of the workload in Week 3.

Week 4 Big 12 Predictions

Big 12 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Baylor at ULM ULM 42-35 Baylor 38-24 Baylor 41-31 Baylor 38-24
Maryland at W. Virginia WVU 52-10 WVU 41-21 WVU 45-17 WVU 41-10
Virginia at TCU TCU 21-17 TCU 31-21 TCU 30-13 TCU 27-17
Kansas at Northern Illinois N. Illinois 14-10 N. Illinois 31-28 Kansas 31-27 N. Illinois 31-30
K-State at Oklahoma K-State 21-17 Oklahoma 34-24 Oklahoma 38-27 Oklahoma 36-21
Last Week: 8-0 8-0 8-0 8-0
Season Record:  23-2 22-3 22-3 23-2


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content

15 Worst College Football Teams of the BCS Era
Post-Week 3 Heisman Contenders

Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 3

Post-Week 3 Bowl Projections

Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Week 4 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:59
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-4-upset-predictions
Body:

College football's Week 4 slate features some intriguing games, including the ACC showdown between Clemson and Florida State and the showdown of Notre Dame and Michigan. Athlon's editors correctly hit on the Notre Dame win over Michigan State and the Ball State victory over Indiana last week. Here are a few upset picks to watch in Week 4:

College Football's Week 4 Upset Picks

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Kansas State (+14) over Oklahoma
Time to start buying into Kansas State. It’s easy not to sometimes -- the talent disparity, the feeling the Wildcats won 10 games last season on luck. And this is a risky pick with Oklahoma defeating K-State 58-17 in Manhattan last season, but one interesting development has been the Wildcats' passing game so far this season. Collin Klein passed for 210 yards against Miami and 230 yards against North Texas. Those numbers would have been Klein’s third- and fourth-most passing yards all season in 2011. Elsewhere, Tramaine Thompson is developing into an intriguing playmaker, already doubling his touchdowns from a year ago (three receiving and one on a punt return). Meanwhile, I’m still a little worried about an Oklahoma team that struggled to put away UTEP in the opener.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Michigan (+6) over Notre Dame
There are three major upsets that I am keeping an eye on this weekend (stay tuned for the Week 3 edition of Betting Against the Spread on Friday for more), but I will go with the Michigan Wolverines over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Brian Kelly's bunch is flying high after a strong 3-0 start led by its defense. But Denard Robinson is back on track after a tough Week 1 performance. He has rushed for 324 yards and has accounted for eight touchdowns in two wins since losing to Alabama and enters this game with three straight 200-yard passing efforts for the first time in his career. He is 3-0 against Notre Dame and his dynamic skillset can negate the powerful Irish front seven. I'm a big fan of Everett Golson but he will make one key freshman mistake in a tightly-played, physical Midwestern rivalry game that should live up to the hype.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Syracuse (+2) over Minnesota
It’s hard to call a two-point spread much of an upset. Then again, there’s not a ton of games that have upset potential in Week 4. Syracuse started 0-2 with close losses to Northwestern and USC but had a sluggish win over Stony Brook last Saturday. The Golden Gophers are a much-improved team in Jerry Kill’s second season but could be without starting quarterback MarQueis Gray. Backup Max Shortell has experience, but Gray’s dual-threat ability will be missed. Syracuse’s offense – led by quarterback Ryan Nassib and receivers Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales – will test a Minnesota defense that allowed 27 points to UNLV in the season opener. The Orange will struggle to stop the Golden Gophers’ offense, but Nassib should make just enough plays to win. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Ball State (+10) over South Florida
The Cardinals return home after their big 41–39 win over in-state rival Indiana — their third straight victory vs. IU — to take on an inconsistent South Florida team. The Bulls dropped to 2–1 with a 23–13 loss at home to Rutgers last Thursday night. They were fortunate to win in Week 2, rallying to beat Nevada 32–31 with two touchdown passes of more than 50 yards in the final three minutes. Ball State is 2–1 with wins over Eastern Michigan and Indiana sandwiched around a 52–27 loss at Clemson. The Cardinals have been able to move the ball in every game; they had 380 yards (including 252 on the ground) vs. Clemson and 440 yards (200-plus through the air and on the ground) vs. Indiana. This is a solid team that is good enough to beat South Florida straight up. Ball State 34, South Florida 31

Mark Ross: Fresno State (+5.5) over Tulsa
Both teams enter this game 2-1 and ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation in both total and scoring offense, as each is averaging more than 500 yards and 43 points per game. Both also are coming off of wins last week in which they scored more than 66 points. That said, there are two reasons why I am picking Fresno State to beat home favorite Tulsa. The first has to do with level of competition. Fresno's only loss so far came on the road against Oregon, who is currently the No. 3-ranked team in the country, while Tulsa lost its opener at Iowa State. Both teams made strong showings in defeat, but I'm a little more impressed by what the Bulldogs were able to do against the Ducks, finishing with 365 yards of total offense and 25 points. The other reason I like Fresno over Tulsa is I trust the Bulldogs' defense a little more as far as being able to slow down the Golden Hurricane offense. Removing the Oregon game, in which Fresno surrendered 532 yards to the No. 7 offense in the nation, the Bulldogs have only given up an average of 276 yards per game. Tulsa on the other hand yielded 441 yards to Iowa State (which is No. 49 in total offense) and last week gave up 370 to FCS member Nicholls State. Both teams should be able to move the ball and score on the other, but in the end I like Fresno to end up on the winning side of what should be an entertaining match up.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): BYU (+7.5) over Boise State
Selecting winners in all three weeks of our upset predictions has obviously filled my head with enough confidence to make me go loco, because this week I’m picking against a squad that is 74-7 under its current coach and 75-3 in its last 78 home games. However I believe the aggressive BYU defense can frustrate Boise State and new quarterback Joe Southwick, and that the Cougars will shock the Broncos on the absolute eyesore that is the blue turf. Bronco Mendenhall’s bunch suffered a frustrating loss at Utah last week, but BYU outgained the Utes and should have won after a late rally. Boise State looked good against Miami (Ohio), but BYU’s defense is closer to the Michigan State group that the Broncos faced in their season-opening loss. It may be crazy for going against Boise State at home, but I’ll take BYU to pull off a 20-17 upset.

 

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 4 Preview and Predictions
Big East Week 4 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 4 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 4 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 4 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 4 Preview and Predictions

College Football Week 4 Upset Predictions

The 15 Worst BCS Teams Since 1998

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 4 Upset Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:43
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-4-sit-or-start
Body:

We have surprised ourselves by including names like James Franklin, Tajh Boyd, and Alex Carder on the Bench list in the same week.  However, we feel that there are safer options available to fantasy owners, especially when Week Four features games rich with fantasy potential for quarterbacks (Baylor at UL-Monroe, Arizona at Oregon, and Marshall at Rice). 

Start

Johnny Manziel, QB-Texas A&M vs South Carolina St

Manziel looks as if he should be a must-start every week except when the Aggies play Alabama and LSU later in the season.

Taylor McHargue, QB-Rice and Rakeem Cato, QB-Marshall Marshall at Rice

This game has the second-highest Vegas total on the board.  Expect a lot of scoring from both offenses and solid fantasy production from their quarterbacks.

Connor Halliday, QB-Washington St vs Colorado

The Cougars’ offense may not be on par with some of the PAC-12’s elite, but expect big numbers from Halliday as he faces a defense giving up over 40 points and 476 yards per game.

Kolton Browning, QB-Louisiana-Monroe vsBaylor

After impressive games against Arkansas and Auburn to start the season, Browning faces a Baylor defense ranked 117th nationally against the pass.

LaDarius Perkins, RB-Mississippi St vs South Alabama

Perkins has had a nice start to the 2012 season, averaging over 100 yards rushing per game and scoring four touchdowns.

Shawn Southward, RB-Troy at North Texas

After rushing for 137 yards and two touchdowns last week against Mississippi State, Southward’s fantasy owners should be excited about Troy’s upcoming five-game conference slate.

Antonio Andrews, RB-Western Kentucky at Southern Miss

We’re not expecting him to duplicate his 34-125-3 numbers from a week ago, but he should come close.

Cody Getz, RB-Air Force vs New Mexico St

Getz may be a forgotten man because the Falcons did not play last week, but don’t get caught sleeping on a guy that has rushed for 348 yards and six touchdowns.

Andy Cruse, WR-Miami (OH) vs UMass

The 6-4 senior seems to be picking up the slack in the absence of fellow receiver Nick Harwell, who has been bothered by a leg injury.

Gabe Marks, WR-Washington St vs Colorado

Marks received a lot of attention throughout fall camp and he made a name for himself on the national stage last week with a six-catch, 126-yard game at UNLV.

Chad Bumphis, WR-Mississippi St vs South Alabama

Bumphis only has ten receptions on the season, but five of those have been for touchdowns and he is averaging 23 yards per catch.

Eric Ebron, TE-North Carolina vs East Carolina

Ebron’s eleven receptions are second-best on the team and his three receiving touchdowns lead the team.

 

Bench

James Franklin, QB-Missouri at South Carolina

Franklin may be the best fantasy option on the Missouri roster this week, but the Gamecocks are seventh-best against the run nationally (53.0 ypg) and are only allowing 9.7 points per game.

Tajh Boyd, QB-Clemson at Florida St

This move could come back to haunt many fantasy owners, but we are not risking our week against the nation’s #1 rated defense.  Be on the lookout for our Emergency Starters list at the end of the week.

Alex Carder, QB-Western Michigan vs Connecticut

We have Carder listed at #30 in our weekly quarterback rankings because he’ll face a defense highly-rated against the pass (5th nationally) and points allowed (11th).

Rex Burkhead, RB-Nebraska vs Idaho St

Coach Pelini has indicated that Burkhead should play this weekend, but we are guessing that he’ll get just enough work to shake off the rust and then rest for next week’s matchup against Wisconsin.

Kevin Parks, RB-Virginia at TCU

The season is still young, but the TCU defense may be a lot better than we thought after three weeks.

Kendial Lawrence, RB-Missouri at South Carolina

Lawrence has been productive over the first three weeks of the season rushing for 224 yards and four touchdowns, but this week the Tigers travel east and face a defense that has not given up more than 70 yards rushing in a game this season.

LaRod King, WR-Kentucky at Florida

King is the best fantasy option on the Wildcats’ roster, but we wouldn’t take a chance against a tough Gators defense.

Alec Lemon, WR-Syracuse at Minnesota

Lemon is being overshadowed by the reemergence of fellow receiver Marcus Sales and has yet to find the end zone.

 

For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email to:  joe@thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

thecffsite.com

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 4 Sit or Start</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 05:34
Path: /college-football/15-worst-college-football-teams-bcs-era
Body:

Colorado is off to an awful 0-3 start and with a daunting upcoming schedule, an 0-12 record seems likely. The Buffaloes' early struggles and a loss to FCS opponent to Sacramento State made us wonder: Who are the worst BCS teams since 1998?

Washington State, Baylor, Duke, Rutgers and Syracuse each had multiple mentions on this list, with Washington's 2008 squad ranking among the top-five worst BCS teams since 1998. 

Needless to say, if the Buffaloes continue at their current pace, they could rank as the No. 1 team on this list. 


College Football's Top 15 Worst BCS Teams Since 1998

1. 2008 Washington State
Final Record:
2-11
Don’t be fooled by the two wins on the resume: Washington State was awful in 2008. The Cougars were outscored by an average of 48-14 each game and its only victories came against a bad FCS team (Portland State) and a Washington team that was without quarterback Jake Locker and finished with a 0-12 record. The Cougars were shutout in three Pac-10 games and scored only a field goal against California and UCLA. 

2. 2006 Duke
Final Record:
0-12
One year after posting a 1-10 record, Duke’s struggles on the gridiron continued with an 0-12 season. The Blue Devils lost 13-0 in the opener against Richmond and were outscored 73-0 by Virginia and Virginia Tech. There were signs of progress from 2005, as Ted Roof’s team lost by one to North Carolina and Wake Forest and was defeated by five points to Miami in mid-October.

3. 2003 Temple
Final Record:
1-11
Temple was largely uncompetitive from the moment it joined the Big East in 1991. The Owls won just 15 overall games from 1991-99 and went winless in conference play in 1996. The 2003 season included a loss to FCS opponent Villanova, with the only victory coming on the road at MTSU. Temple did have a close call in Big East play, losing 24-23 to Virginia Tech in mid-November. The Owls were booted from the Big East due to their struggles on the field and low attendance after the 2004 season but returned to the conference in 2012. 

4. 2000 Duke
Final Record:
0-11
Finding success on the gridiron hasn’t been easy for Duke. However, the 2000-01 seasons were possibly the worst in school history. The Blue Devils were not only winless but largely uncompetitive. Duke was shutout in the opener against East Carolina and lost by at least 30 points five times. The Blue Devils also managed only 155 points, their lowest offensive output in the BCS era. 

5. 2008 Washington
Final Record:
0-12
Tyrone Willingham failed to record a winning record during his four-year tenure at Washington, and 2008 was a rock-bottom point for this program. The Huskies went 0-12, which included a 16-13 loss to rival Washington State in Pullman. Washington was largely uncompetitive in Pac-10 play, with only two games decided by a touchdown or less. Losing quarterback Jake Locker certainly didn’t help Washington’s chances, but the Huskies’ leading rusher had just 338 yards, and the defense allowed 38.6 points a game. 

6. 1999 Baylor
Final Record:
1-10
Kevin Steele was brought in to replace Dave Roberts after back-to-back two-win seasons, but his tenure was a major disappointment. The Bears went 1-11 in 1999 and was defeated by an average score of 38-13. Baylor’s only win that season came against North Texas, but the lowlight of the year came in a loss against UNLV. Baylor led 24-21 with less than 20 seconds left and just had to take a knee to seal the victory. Instead of lining up in the victory formation, the Bears ran the ball and fumbled, which was returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Although Steele was trying to set an attitude or mindset for the team, it was a huge error on his part. Baylor won only one Big 12 game during Steele’s four years in Waco.

7. 2001 Duke
Final Record:
0-11
After a disastrous 2000 season, the Carl Franks tenure at Duke didn’t get much better in 2001. The Blue Devils failed to record a win for the second season in a row and suffered blowout losses at the hands of Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Franks’ 2001 team was a little better but still one of the worst in BCS history. 

8. 1999 Rutgers
Final Record:
1-10
After going 0-11 in 1997, Rutgers showed some signs of life with a 5-6 record in 1998. However, the Scarlet Knights regressed to a dismal 1-10 record in 1999. The only win of the season was a surprise 24-21 upset over Syracuse, but Rutgers lost 56-28 to a 2-9 Temple in late October. Outside of the victory against the Orangemen, the Scarlet Knights had only two losses decided by 14 points or less and was defeated by an average score of 39-14.

9. 2005 Duke
Final Record:
1-10
After four miserable seasons under Carl Franks, Duke turned to Ted Roof to help turn the program back in the right direction. Roof had some initial momentum, but things quickly went downhill. The Blue Devils went 1-10 in 2005, with the one win coming over a VMI team that finished 3-8. Duke had a point differential of -231 and had only one ACC loss was decided by less than 25 points. 

10. 2000 Baylor
Final Record:
2-9
After a disappointing 1-10 record in Kevin Steele’s first season in 1999, the Bears weren’t much better in 2000. The Bears won just two games, beating a North Texas team that went 3-8 and South Florida, who was just in its second season of football. Baylor’s offense was virtually invisible in October, as it was shutout in three consecutive games and never scored more than 22 points in Big 12 play. 

11. 2007 Syracuse
Final Record:
2-10
The 2005 Syracuse team was bad, but the 2007 version was worse. The Orange doubled their win total from 2005, which isn’t saying much when you won only one game. Syracuse beat Louisville 38-35 and Buffalo 20-12 for its only wins of 2007 and lost by 30 points or more four times, including a 35-0 defeat to Iowa in the second game of the season.

12. 2006 Stanford
Final Record:
1-11
After leading Pittsburgh to five consecutive winning seasons from 2000-04, Walt Harris was picked as the coach to lead Stanford back to the Rose Bowl, especially after three uninspiring seasons under Buddy Teevens. Harris’ tenure was short lived, as he lasted just two seasons, including a horrendous 1-11 record in 2006. The Cardinal lost by an average score of 31-11 and only one loss was decided by eight points or less. Hiring Harris was clearly a mistake, but Stanford got it right by hiring Jim Harbaugh to take over the program in 2007. 

13. 2002 Rutgers
Final Record:
1-11
Greg Schiano went 2-9 in his debut season at Rutgers but followed that up with a worse record (1-11) in 2002. The Scarlet Knights’ only victory came against Army, a team that went 1-11 and lost to a 4-8 Holy Cross team. As if winning one game wasn’t bad enough, Schiano’s team was beat handily by Buffalo 34-11 – a team that won just one game that season. Rutgers was defeated by an average score of 33-14 and lost six out of their seven Big East games by 20 points or more. Considering how bad Rutgers was when he inherited the program, Schiano probably doesn’t get enough credit for turning the Scarlet Knights into a consistent bowl team. 

14. 2009 Washington State
Final Record:
1-11
Paul Wulff’s first season at Washington State resulted in a 2-11 record, so the expectations were low heading into 2009. However, the Cougars were worse than expected, winning only one game – SMU 30-27 in mid-September. Washington State didn’t strike much fear in opponents the rest of the way, as it was outscored by an average of 45-9 over the final nine games of the season. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Cougars were shut out by rival Washington in the season finale 30-0.

15. 2005 Syracuse
Final Record:
1-10
Paul Pasqualoni was fired after going 16-20 in his final three years at Syracuse. However, the Orange probably wished for Pasqualoni back after recording a 1-10 record in Greg Robinson’s first season. Syracuse’s only victory came against Buffalo, a team that also went 1-10 that season. The Orange lost by an average score of 27-14 and suffered five losses of more than 20 points. 

Honorable Mentions

1999 South Carolina (0-11)
2007 Minnesota (1-11)
2011 Indiana (1-11)
2011 Kansas (2-10)
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven
 

 

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 3
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College Football Post-Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> 15 Worst College Football Teams of the BCS Era</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 06:36
Path: /college-football/florida-football-can-gators-win-sec-east-title
Body:

Thanks to wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee, Florida has gone from a fringe top-25 team to one that is ranked among the top 10-15 teams in the nation. The Gators were expected to show improvement after a disappointing 2011 season, but this team has been better than expected. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is improving, while the defense is allowing only 17 points a game.

Although the Gators have made significant progress under coach Will Muschamp, should they be considered one of the frontrunners to win the SEC East title?

Can Florida Win the SEC East?

Coach Pat Dye, former head coach of the Auburn Tigers, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Well, I do.  You've got to be impressed with what they've done the last couple of weeks against Texas A&M and Tennessee.  I think the emergence of the quarterback, and him getting settled has been the key.  He looked good against Texas A&M, but he looked really good against Tennessee. I think it will be between Florida and Georgia. And Florida may have an advantage because they're playing Georgia in what really is a home game for them in Jacksonville.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
The East still tilts in favor of South Carolina and Georgia, two teams with elite defenses and at least one reliable centerpiece on offense -- Marcus Lattimore for South Carolina and Aaron Murray for Georgia. Florida is getting to the same place, but the Gators aren’t quite there yet even with back-to-back SEC road wins. With only one true SEC road game left (at Vanderbilt), Florida could be in position to play for an East title when it faces South Carolina and Georgia in back-to-back weeks in October. A healthy Mike Gillislee has proven he can anchor the Florida rushing attack and Jeff Driskel is getting more confident as a passer and runner each week. For an SEC East contender you’ve got to love a team that’s strong in the fourth quarter and on the road, two traits Florida discovered the last two weeks. I’d still pick South Carolina or Georgia, but Florida is a clear No. 3 that’s probably closer to the Gamecocks and Bulldogs than the rest of the division. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
Absolutely. What did we know about Florida before SEC play began? The Gators have a nasty defense that has loads of speed, the road schedule is front-loaded with few late-season tests and no Alabama, and that the SEC West was going to be tougher. What didn't we know about Florida? Does this team have a quarterback who can make key throws and be a leader on offense? Is Will Muschamp capable of coaching at an elite level in the pressure-packed SEC? Will the early schedule knock the Gators out of the race by Week 3? Well, consider all three questions answered definitively. Jeff Driskel was brilliant in Knoxville, the coaching staff made tremendous halftime adjustments two weeks in a row, and Florida returns home 2-0 after two brutal road tests in the SEC. Florida has owned Georgia and it gets LSU, South Carolina and Mizzou in The Swamp. There is one road trip outside of the state left: at Vanderbilt. All signs point to the Gators being right in the middle of the SEC East race.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
Florida has been one of the most impressive teams through the first three weeks of the season and is absolutely a threat to win the SEC East. The opener against Bowling Green wasn’t the team’s best effort, but the Gators have scored back-to-back road wins against Texas A&M and Tennessee. The biggest question mark heading into this season for Florida was the offense, which has grown up over the last two weeks. Quarterback Jeff Driskel hasn’t posted huge numbers but has yet to throw for an interception and has 113 rushing yards. The defense has been solid and can only get better as the young players get more experience in the SEC. I still think Georgia is the frontrunner in the division, but Florida hosts South Carolina, LSU and Missouri and has only one road conference game the rest of the year. The Gators have closed the gap and the Oct. 27 game against the Bulldogs in Jacksonville, Fla., could decide the East crown.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
Sure, Florida can win the SEC East. I’d still favor Georgia, who I believe has the most complete roster in the division, but the Gators have made a significant statement in the last two weeks. Right now, I’d consider Florida to be a bigger threat to Georgia than South Carolina. Will Muschamp’s team has been strong on defense (as expected) and has made significant progress on offense since struggling in a Week 1 win over Bowing Green. The quarterback position, considered a weakness before the season, is now a strength with Jeff Driskel showing everyone Saturday night why he was so highly rated coming out of high school. The Gators still lack elite talent at wide receiver, but this team now looks capable of contending for the SEC East title.

Mark Ross: 
Florida has already demonstrated what this team is capable of as the Gators have gone into both College Station and Knoxville and come out victorious. However, there's still plenty of work left to be done, as dates with LSU, Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia remain. Florida's defense appears to be capable of shutting down any opponent, as evidenced by its second-half performances against the Aggies and Volunteers, but the offense is not on the same level. Quarterback Jeff Driskel continues to make strides and has been impressive in his own right in the Gators' two SEC wins, but this team doesn't seem to have enough weapons to complement him. Florida can win the East because they hold their fate in their hands with their remaining schedule. However, the meat of their conference schedule, which starts with LSU on the first Saturday in October and finishes with a three-game stretch of South Carolina, Georgia and Missouri on consecutive Saturdays, will be too much for this relatively young team to get through with no fewer than two losses. I still have Georgia winning the East, but the fact that Florida is even in the hunt should give Gator fans plenty of reasons to be hopeful about the program's future under the leadership of Will Muschamp.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
Absolutely. The Gators already have two league wins on the road, and an athletic defense should keep UF in every game. The LSU contest in Gainesville will be difficult, but taking care of business versus the division is the key for Will Muschamp’s bunch. Florida will have the chance to claim an SEC East crown on successive Saturdays in late October, with South Carolina coming to the Swamp and then the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville against Georgia. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is showing an ability to make more plays each week, and running back Mike Gillislee is a physical presence who can wear down defenses. With offensive coordinator Brent Pease finding ways to effectively use weapons like Trey Burton, Frankie Hammond and Jordan Reed, the Gators offense is showing solid potential. Muschamp’s emphasis on the trenches is producing success in the second half of games, and that factor may be the difference when Florida battles rivals South Carolina and Georgia.

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 3
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College Football Post-Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> Florida Football: Can the Gators Win the SEC East Title?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 06:11
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-4-plays
Body:

In the world of fantasy football, some team owners are relentless in their search for information that will give them a competitive edge over their competition.  Others just simply rely on projections from so-called experts, who try to convince everyone they have devised a computer program that accurately projects player stats by using a scientific formula so complicated that it makes the Drake equation seem elementary.  Eventually, those computer-driven computations prove no more accurate than an old-fashioned gut feeling.  However, in a quest to find a formula for fantasy success, one should just ask the question, “What are the odds?”

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.  In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 4

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Baylor at UL-Monroe

Line:  Baylor -7.5(O/U-68.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Baylor 38-31

Best plays:

Baylor (QB-Nick Florence, RB-Jared Salubi, WR-Terrence Williams, Tevin Reese, K-Aaron Jones)

LA-Monroe (QB-Kolton Browning, WR-Brent Leonard)

Also consider:

Baylor (WR-Lanear Sampson)

LA-Monroe (RB-Jyruss Edwards)

theCFFsite projects:  UL-Monroe 38-34

 

Marshall at Rice

Line:  Marshall -2.5(O/U-70)

Projected score based on point spread:  Marshall 37-34

Best plays:

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WRs-Aaron Dobson, Tommy Shuler)

Rice (QB-Taylor McHargue, K-Chris Boswell)

Also consider:

Marshall (TE-Eric Frohnapfel)

Rice (RB-Charles Ross, WR-Jordan Taylor)

theCFFsite projects:  Marshall 41-34

 

Fresno St at Tulsa

Line:  Tulsa -5.5(O/U-69.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Tulsa 38-32

Best plays:

Fresno St (QB-Derek Carr, RB-Robbie Rouse, WRs-Davante Adams, Isaiah Burse)

Tulsa (QB-Cody Green, WR-Keyarris Garrett)

Also consider:

Fresno St (K-Quentin Breshears)

Tulsa (RBs-Trey Watts, JaTerian Douglas)

theCFFsite projects:  Fresno St 35-34

 

Arizona at Oregon

Line:  Oregon -24(O/U-76.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oregon 50-26

Best plays:

Arizona (QB-Matt Scott, RB-KaDeem Carey, WRs-Dan Buckner, Austin Hill)

Oregon (QB-Marcus Mariota, RBs-Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas)

Also consider:

Arizona (WR-Richard Morrison, K-John Bonano)

Oregon (TE-Colt Lyerla)

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon 59-31

 

Troy at North Texas

Line:  PICK(O/U-61)

Projected score based on point spread:  30-30 TIE

Best plays:

Troy (RB-Shawn Southward, WR-Chip Reeves)

North Texas (RB-Brandin Byrd)

Also consider:

Troy (QB-Corey Robinson, WR-Eric Thomas)

North Texas (RB-Antoinne Jimmerson, WR-Brelan Chancellor)

theCFFsite projects:  Troy 35-28

 

One-Sided Matchups(Using the odds to find a dominating ‘D’)

Florida Atlantic at Alabama

Line:  Alabama -50(O/U-57)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 54-3

Stay away from:

FAU (All players)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 52-6

 

Eastern Michigan at Michigan St

Line:  Michigan St -33(O/U-46.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan St 40-7

Stay away from:

Eastern Michigan (QB-Alex Gillett)

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan St 31-10

 

South Alabama at Mississippi St

Line:  Mississippi St -34.5(O/U-48)

Projected score based on point spread:  Mississippi St 42-7

Stay away from:

South Alabama (RB-Demetre Baker)

theCFFsite projects:  Mississippi St 49-14

 

UAB at Ohio St

Line:  Ohio St -37.5(O/U-57.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ohio St 48-10

Stay away from:

UAB (QB-Jonathan Perry)

theCFFsite projects:  Ohio St 52-14

 

UMass at Miami (OH)

Line:  Miami (OH) -26.5(O/U-51)

Projected score based on point spread:  Miami (OH) 39-12

Stay away from:

UMass (RB-Michael Cox)

theCFFsite projects:  Miami (OH) 35-13

 

Must Watch Games (The games with the biggest headlines)

Clemson at Florida St

Line:  Florida St -14.4(O/U-58)

Projected score based on point spread:  Florida St 36-22

Outlook:  Are the Seminoles as good on the defensive side of the ball as many believe?  They may not play another opponent this season with the offensive skill talent as the Tigers.  Home field will prove valuable in a game that should go down to the wire.

theCFFsite projects:  Florida St 30-24

 

Michigan at Notre Dame

Line:  Notre Dame -6 (O/U-51.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Notre Dame 29-23

Outlook:  The Wolverines will look to atone for the Big Ten’s early-season struggles, but the Irish are trying to prove that they’re relevant again.

theCFFsite projects:  Notre Dame 31-21

 

Kansas St at Oklahoma

Line:  Oklahoma -14(O/U-58.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma 46-32

Outlook:  We won’t be shocked if the Wildcats leave Norman with a victory, but the Sooners have had an extra week to prepare for this matchup and should escape 3-0.

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma 34-28

 

theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (5-3)  ATS: (3-5)

2011 Season:  Straight Up (40-9) ATS: (35-14)

 

by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 4 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 04:20
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-3-rankings-2
Body:

Week 3 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Kentucky's Joker Phillips easily ranks as the No. 1 coach on the hot seat after a disappointing loss to Western Kentucky. SEC foe Tennessee lost to Florida on Saturday, which only adds to the pressure under coach Derek Dooley. Colorado was blown out by Fresno State, allowing Jon Embree to jump into the top five of our hot seat rankings after three weeks.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 3 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank:
1
Record at Kentucky: 12-16 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-2
Phillips’ seat has officially gone from hot to scalding hot. Kentucky rallied from a 17-0 deficit to Western Kentucky to force overtime, but it wasn’t enough, as the Hilltoppers matched the Wildcats’ score in overtime and won on a two-point conversion on the final play of the game. It’s hard to fault Phillips for all of Kentucky’s woes, but the schedule is only going to get more difficult the rest of the way. The Wildcats have only more guaranteed win (Samford) and open SEC play at Florida this Saturday. Kentucky needs to show progress the rest of the way for Phillips to return, but that’s no guarantee considering the upcoming schedule.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Record at Boston College: 21-21 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
A week after breaking into the win column against Maine, Boston College failed to build on that momentum and lost 22-13 to Northwestern. Despite the 1-2 record, there have been a few positives for the Eagles. New offensive coordinator Doug Martin has been able to spark the passing attack, but the Eagles rank a disappointing 109th nationally in rushing. The next stretch of games could decide Spaziani’s future in Chestnut Hill. Boston College hosts Clemson on Sept. 29, before traveling to Army on Oct. 6. The schedule doesn’t get any easier following those two games, as the Eagles have road dates at Florida State and Georgia Tech. Spaziani faces an uphill battle to return next season but could save his job if the Eagles pull off an upset or two in the next few weeks.

3. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank:
6
Record at Colorado: 3-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 0-3
Considering this is Embree’s second season with Colorado, he deserves a chance to turn things around in 2013. However, it’s hard to ignore how bad the Buffaloes have been under his watch. Colorado closed out last season by winning two out of its final three games but has opened 0-3 in disastrous fashion. The Buffaloes lost to in-state rival Colorado State in the opener, followed up by a loss to FCS opponent Sacramento State and a blowout defeat to Fresno State. Colorado is playing a lot of young players, so some growing pains can be expected. However, the Buffaloes haven’t shown much progress through three games and could finish 0-12.

4. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Record at Central Michigan: 7-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Chippewas had a bye week in Week 3 and head into Saturday’s game at Iowa with a 1-1 record. Under Enos’ watch, Central Michigan has yet to beat a team with a BCS record and is 0-3 against teams from the Big Ten. Needless to say, the Chippewas will need to play their best game of the season if they want to have any shot at beating the Hawkeyes.

5. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Record at Idaho: 19-46 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-3
It’s hard to place any blame on Akey after Saturday’s 63-14 loss to LSU. After all, the Vandals were heavy underdogs and didn’t have much of a shot to win. While Akey has a tough job, Idaho has won only one game against FBS competition in its last 13 contests and is off to a 0-3 start. One promising sign for Akey has to be the play of quarterback Dominique Blackman, who threw for 352 yards and one touchdown against Bowling Green in Week 2. The Vandals host Wyoming this Saturday.

6. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Record at UNLV: 4-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-3
The weekly hot seat watch has been harsh on Hauck the first two weeks, so it’s time to give him a little credit after Friday’s game against Washington State. After a disappointing loss to Northern Arizona in Week 2, the Rebels played the Cougars tough and lost 35-27. Of course, Hauck needs wins to keep his job, but this team has a few pieces to build around, including quarterback Nick Sherry and running back Tim Cornett. UNLV opens Mountain West play this Saturday against Air Force and a win against the Falcons would be a huge boost after opening the season 0-3.

7. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank: 4
Record at MTSU: 37-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
After opening up the 2012 season with a loss to McNeese State, the Blue Raiders have won back-to-back games, allowing Stockstill’s seat to cool going into Week 4. MTSU has a bye in Week 4 and returns to action against Georgia Tech in Week 5. Stockstill doesn’t necessarily need a winning season to save his job, but the Blue Raiders can’t afford to go 3-9 and struggle to compete against Sun Belt competition. 

8. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Rice: 24-40 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
A week after upsetting Kansas on the road, the Owls failed to build upon that momentum and lost 56-37 at Louisiana Tech. There have been positive signs for Rice through the first three weeks, as quarterback Taylor McHargue ranks 36th nationally with 273 total yards per game. Although Rice upset the Jayhawks and the offense has been solid, this team still has a long ways to go. The Owls rank 118th nationally in scoring defense and are allowing 531.3 yards per game. Rice opens C-USA play this week against Marshall and hosts rival Houston in Week 5.

9. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Record at Houston: 1-3
2012 Record: 0-3
Houston continued to slide under Levine, losing 37-6 at UCLA on Saturday. While the Cougars weren’t expected to win, the defense was gashed for over 500 yards, and the offense had six turnovers and failed to generate much of a passing attack. After firing offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt, Houston’s offense showed signs of life in a 56-49 loss to Louisiana Tech but looked out of sync against the Bruins. Levine’s tenure is off to a disastrous start, but the Cougars still have a chance to win Conference USA’s West Division, starting next Saturday against Rice.

10. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Record at California: 80-50 (11th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
Thanks to California’s solid performance at Ohio State, Tedford slides down the hot seat watch by a few spots. Despite hanging tough against the Buckeyes, the Golden Bears own a 1-2 record, and the schedule won’t get easier with a road trip to USC this Saturday and a home date against Arizona State in Week 5. California has a tough schedule, and considering the personnel in place, getting to 7-5 or 8-4 would be a good season for this team. However, would 7-5 or even 6-6 be enough for Tedford to return in 2013?

11. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank:
11
Record at Maryland: 4-11 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 2-1
Edsall was the center of attention this week, as he took on his former team (Connecticut). The Terrapins had a chance to win late but lost 24-21, which snapped their two-game winning streak. Edsall seems to have this team on the right track, but Maryland still has a long way to go in order to be a bowl team this season. The Terrapins face an uphill battle to win this Saturday, as they play at West Virginia. The matchup against the Mountaineers is the final non-conference game for Maryland, and it will be interesting to see how far this team has come once ACC play arrives on Oct. 6 against Wake Forest.

12. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
20
Record at Tennessee: 13-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-1
Dooley nearly fell out of our top 20 coaches on the hot seat, but Saturday’s loss to Florida is enough to jump into the top 15 of the rankings. Tennessee jumped out to a 14-10 lead at halftime but was outscored 27-6 in the second half. Both sides of the ball struggled in the final two quarters, including a defense that allowed two scores of over 75 yards. Tennessee should get back into the win column with Akron visiting Knoxville this Saturday. However, the schedule only gets tougher with SEC games against Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina coming up.

13. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
13
Record at Auburn: 31-12 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
The Tigers managed to avoid at upset at the hands of Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday but that’s not enough to move Chizik down the hot seat rankings. Auburn was largely unimpressive and anytime a SEC team needs overtime to beat a Sun Belt team, it’s never good news for the head coach. Chizik has recruited as well as anyone in the country over the last few years, but the results on the field aren’t adding up.

14. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank:
14
Record at Syracuse: 18-22 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
After losing close games to Northwestern and USC to open the season, Saturday’s 28-17 victory over Stony Brook was a much-needed win for Marrone. The victory was not only crucial to get into the win column for 2012 but snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Orange. Barring a complete collapse this season, Marrone will probably return for 2013. However, getting to a bowl game and winning more than one contest in Big East play would certainly help earn more job security.

15. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank:
15
Record at Iowa: 98-67 (14th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
It wasn’t the most glamorous victory, but Iowa eased the disappointment over the loss to Iowa State with a 27-16 win over Northern Iowa in Week 3. The Hawkeyes had more injuries at running back, as Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon were banged up and did not return. Quarterback James Vandenberg was steady, completing 18 of 28 passes for 228 yards, but he is still looking for his first touchdown pass of the season. Ferentz and the Hawkeyes should move to 3-1 with a matchup against Central Michigan this Saturday.

16. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank:
16
Record at Buffalo: 6-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Bulls had a bye in Week 3 and return to action on Wednesday night against Kent State. Buffalo has some momentum after beating Morgan State in Week 2 but needs to show some progress in MAC games for Quinn to feel secure about keeping his job in 2013. Oddly enough, even though Kent State and Buffalo are in the same division (MAC East), this will be the first meeting between these two teams since 2009.

17. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
18
Record at New Mexico State: 10-31 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
As we have mentioned in the hot seat column in previous weeks, it’s hard to fault Walker for what’s going on at New Mexico State. The Aggies have only one winning season since 2002 and have failed to record a season of more than four wins since 2004. The Aggies dropped to 1-2 thanks to a 41-28 loss to UTEP. Up next for New Mexico State is rival New Mexico, a team the Aggies have beat for three consecutive seasons.

18. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 19
Record at Western Michigan: 48-41 (8th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
The Broncos were close but not good enough to beat to Minnesota in Week 3. Western Michigan has another shot to beat a BCS team in Week 4, as Connecticut visits Kalamazoo this Saturday. The Broncos were picked by many as the favorites to win the MAC West crown, so it’s hard to judge how hot Cubit’s seat can get until conference play arrives on Sept. 29 against Toledo.

19. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Texas Tech: 16-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-0
So far, so good for Texas Tech this season. The Red Raiders seem to have a much-improved defense, while the offense will be one of the best in the Big 12. The competition hasn’t been great, but Tuberville has to be pleased with his team so far. Thanks to Texas Tech’s 3-0 start to begin the season, Tuberville has fallen from a spot in the top 10 of the hot seat rankings to nearly out of the list.

20. George O’Leary, UCF
Last Week’s Rank:
17
Record at UCF: 52-52 (9th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
The Knights jumped out to a 23-0 lead against FIU and cruised to a 33-20 victory on Saturday night. UCF’s only loss came against Ohio State, and the Knights appear to be Conference USA’s No. 1 team after three games. The biggest news out of UCF wasn’t on the field this week, as it has officially decided to appeal its postseason ban for 2012. The appeal may not be heard before the end of 2012, which would allow the Knights to play in a bowl game this year. However, if UCF loses the appeal after the season, it would have to miss out on the postseason in its first Big East campaign in 2013. 

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Record at Arkansas: 1-2
2012 Record: 1-2
As we mentioned last week with Smith, he's essentially on a one-year deal and the odds of him returning to Fayetteville were slim for 2013. However, Smith's tenure in Arkansas has not gone well, and the Razorbacks are a disappointing 1-2 after three games. Smith can't be blamed for everything, especially since quarterback Tyler Wilson did not play against Alabama.


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Sept. 18, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Post-Week 3 Bowl Projections
ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 3 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-3-bowl-projections
Body:

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only three weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games. 

With very little data to work with, the post-Week 3 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 3 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl Date Tie-In Projected Matchup
New Mexico Dec. 15 MWC vs. Pac-12 Utah vs. Wyoming
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 15 MAC vs. WAC Utah State vs. N. Illinois
Poinsettia Dec. 20 BYU vs. MWC BYU vs. San Diego State
Beef 'O'Brady's Dec. 21 Big East vs. C-USA Vanderbilt* vs. Louisiana Tech*
New Orleans Dec. 22 Sun Belt vs. C-USA UL Lafayette vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas Dec. 22 MWC vs. Pac-12 Washington vs. Boise State
Hawaii Dec. 24 C-USA vs. MWC Fresno State vs. SMU
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC Purdue vs. Toledo
Military Dec. 27 ACC vs. Army Marshall* vs. Miami
Belk Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big East Georgia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Holiday Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 UCLA vs. TCU
Independence Dec. 28 ACC vs. SEC Wake Forest vs. Arkansas
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big East Clemson vs. Rutgers
Meineke Car Care Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Texas Tech vs. Iowa
Armed Forces Dec. 29 C-USA vs. MWC Nevada vs. UTEP
Kraft Fight Hunger Dec. 29 Pac-12 vs. Navy Navy vs. Arizona State
Pinstripe Dec. 29 Big East vs. Big 12 Baylor vs. Connecticut
Alamo Dec. 29 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Stanford vs. Kansas State
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Oklahoma State vs. N'Western
Music City Dec. 31 SEC vs. ACC Virginia vs. Missouri
Sun Dec. 31 ACC vs. Pac-12 Arizona vs. NC State
Liberty Dec. 31 SEC vs. C-USA Texas A&M vs. East Carolina
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 ACC vs. SEC Virginia Tech vs. Miss. State
TicketCity Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. C-USA Illinois vs. Tulsa
TaxSlayer.com Gator Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Tennessee vs. Wisconsin
Capital One Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Georgia vs. Michigan State
Outback Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Nebraska vs. Florida
Cotton Jan. 4 Big 12 vs. SEC West Virginia vs. So. Carolina
BBVA Compass Jan. 5 SEC vs. Big East Auburn vs. South Florida
GoDaddy.com Jan. 6 MAC vs. Sun Belt Arkansas State vs. Ohio
       
BCS Bowls      
Rose Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Michigan vs. USC
Orange Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Florida State vs. Texas
Sugar Jan. 2 BCS vs. BCS LSU vs. Notre Dame
Fiesta Jan. 3 BCS vs. BCS Oklahoma vs. Louisville
National Title Jan. 7 BCS vs. BCS Oregon vs. Alabama


* Indicates an at-large team due to a conference unable to fill bowl slots according to Athlon's projections.


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Sept. 18, 2012)

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College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Ranks
ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football Post-Week 3 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-3-waiver-wire-report
Body:

The beginning of every fantasy week is the time to rebuild or reload.  If you need to rebuild your roster, you’re in luck.  In this week’s Waiver Wire edition you will notice some familiar names that may have been recycled through your league’s waiver system since draft day, particularly Jawan Jamison, Antonio Andrews, and Josh Stewart. 

Post-Week 3 College Fantasy Waiver Wire Report

J.W. Walsh, QB-Oklahoma St
After starting quarterback Wes Lunt left last week’s game with a leg injury, Walsh stepped in and accounted for 420 yards and five touchdowns.  As long as Lunt’s status is unknown, Walsh should be near the top of many fantasy owners’ waiver list.

Kolton Browning, QB-UL-Monroe
Browning has passed for 649 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 127 yards and two scores in the Warhawks’ first two games on the road against SEC schools.

Rakeem Cato, QB-Marshall
Cato leads the nation in passing yards (1,222) and passing yards per game (407.3).

Terrance Owens, QB-Toledo
The Rockets are 2-0 since Owens became the full-time starter and the offense should continue to roll this week against Coastal Carolina.

Jawan Jamison, RB-Rutgers
Not only did Jamison make a statement Thursday night on national television by carrying the ball 41 times for 151 yards at South Florida, but the Scarlet Knights proved that they are contenders in the Big East.

Dareyon Chance, RB-Western Michigan
The diminutive five-foot-five, 169-pound back shined in his first start of the season, running for 144 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries against Minnesota.

Antonio Andrews, RB-Western Kentucky
We were a big fan of Andrews on draft day, but he started the season splitting carries with Keshawn Simpson and some owners may have released him.  After carrying the ball 34 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns in a 32-31 win over Kentucky on Saturday, Andrews showed why we ranked him #34 in our preseason running back rankings.

Jordan Hall, RB-Ohio St
Fantasy owners may have passed on drafting Hall because of a preseason injury, but he returned last week and ran for 87 yards on 17 carries.

Tevin King, RB-Louisiana Tech
After two games, the freshman running back leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 316 yards and has added three touchdowns.

Andre Davis, WR-South Florida
Davis has emerged as quarterback B.J. Daniels’ favorite target and has hauled in 20 receptions for 275 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games.

Devin Smith, WR-Ohio St
Now with two straight games with at least five catches, Smith is emerging as the play-making receiver that the Buckeyes need.

Josh Stewart, Oklahoma St
Since a quiet Week One against Savannah State, Stewart has caught 18 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

Antavian Edison, WR-Purdue
Edison has recorded at least five catches, 50 yards, and a touchdown in every game this season.

Marquelo Suel, WR-Akron
Suel has at least six receptions in every game this season and has two 99-yard receiving games and three touchdowns.

Mike Evans, WR-Texas A&M
Evans followed up his seven-catch, 60-yards performance against Florida in the Aggies’ opener with a six-catch, 123-yard day against SMU this past weekend.

Chris Coyle, TE-Arizona St
Coyle leads the nation in receiving yards for tight ends and has led the Sun Devils in receiving yards or receptions in every game this season.
 

Last Week’s Waiver Wire Suggestions

Connor Halliday, QB-Wash St (378 pass yards, 4 TDs @ UNLV)

Brett Hundley, QB-UCLA (320 pass yards, 2 TDs vs Houston)

Venric Mark, RB-Northwestern (18 carries for 77 yards, 7 receptions for 42 yards vs BC)

Todd Gurley, RB-Georgia (10 carries for 111 yards, TD vs FAU)

Isaiah Burse, WR-Fresno St (3 receptions for 107 yards, TD vs Colorado)

Austin Franklin, WR-New Mexico St (7 receptions for 107 yards, 2 TDs at UTEP)

Jamison Crowder, WR-Duke (7 receptions for 84 yards, TD vs NC Central)

Rolandan Finch, RB-Boston College (19 yards rushing, 16 yards receiving @ NWestern)

Cody Getz, RB-Air Force (Bye)

Damien Williams, RB-Oklahoma (Bye)

Leighton Settle, RB-NIU (5 carries for 19 yards at Army)

Alex Neutz, WR-Buffalo (Bye)
 


by Joe DiSalvo

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Teaser:
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Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 22:20
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-3-power-rankings
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If there were any doubts Florida State was ready to make a run into national title contention, those should be erased after Saturday’s win over Wake Forest. The Seminoles beat Wake Forest 52-0, which included impressive performances on both sides of the ball. Virginia Tech was a surprise loser in Week 3, dropping a 35-17 game to Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech handled Virginia, while North Carolina’s late rally fell short against Louisville in an ACC-Big East showdown.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – Ellington has been used sparingly the last two weeks due to the competition. The senior has 328 yards and four touchdowns through the first three games.

2. Bryn Renner, QB, North Carolina – Renner has been sharp in the first year under new coach Larry Fedora. Through three weeks, he has thrown for 870 yards and nine touchdowns and completed 62.5 percent of his throws.

3. Chris Thompson, RB, Florida State – Thompson was quiet through the first two weeks of the season but exploded for 197 yards and two scores against Wake Forest.
 

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner and fellow end Tank Carradine dominated the line of scrimmage against Wake Forest. Werner recorded four tackles and two sacks in the win over the Demon Deacons.

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – Vellano was relatively quiet in the loss to Connecticut, recording four tackles and no sacks.

3. David Amerson, CB, NC State – Amerson has rebounded after a rough start and recorded three tackles and one interception in NC State’s win over South Alabama.


Coach of the Year

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles passed their first big test of the season, dominating Wake Forest for a 52-0 win.

2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – The Tigers notched an easy win over Furman, but Swinney has a chance to jump to the top of this list with a win over Florida State in Week 4.

3. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech – With losses by Wake Forest (Jim Grobe), Virginia Tech (Frank Beamer) and North Carolina (Larry Fedora), there are few options for the third spot. The Yellow Jackets lost a key Week 1 game to Virginia Tech but crushed Virginia in Week 3.

 

ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
1
Week 3 result: Beat Wake Forest 52-0
Consider the Seminoles’ first test of 2012 a huge success. After playing Savannah State and Murray State in the first two weeks of the season, Florida State was still somewhat of a mystery. However, the Seminoles erased any doubts surrounding this team, destroying Wake Forest 52-0 to earn their first ACC win. Running back Chris Thompson ran wild against the Demon Deacons, rushing for a career high 197 yards on nine carries. Florida State’s defense also suffocated Wake Forest, allowing just 126 yards and seven first downs.
Next Game: Clemson

2. Clemson (3-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Week 3 result: Beat Furman 41-7
The Tigers cruised to a 41-7 victory over Furman in the final tune-up before ACC play. Quarterback Tajh Boyd continued his strong start to the season by throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns. And the offense got a boost with the return of receiver Sammy Watkins, who caught four passes for 52 yards and took one rush for a 50-yard score against the Paladins. One area of concern for Dabo Swinney and his staff has to be the defense, especially after allowing 352 yards and generating no sacks.
Next Game: at Florida State

3. Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
4
Week 3 result: Beat Virginia 56-20
Even though it was only the second ACC game of the season, beating Virginia was crucial for any shot the Yellow Jackets had of winning the division crown. Quarterback Tevin Washington had a standout performance against the Cavaliers, throwing for 125 yards and one touchdown, while adding 93 yards and three scores on the ground. Georgia Tech’s defense held Virginia’s rushing attack to only 98 yards, while forcing two interceptions. The Yellow Jackets are still a game behind Virginia Tech in the Coastal standings, so every conference game the rest of the year (at least for now) is essentially a must-win situation.
Next Game: Miami

4. Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Week 3 result: Lost to Pittsburgh 35-17
One of the most surprising results from Week 3 was Virginia Tech’s 35-17 loss at Pittsburgh. The Panthers lost to Youngstown State and Cincinnati in the first two weeks of the season and were considered a heavy underdog. The problems for the Hokies started on offense, as the rushing attack never found its rhythm, and quarterback Logan Thomas tossed three picks. The defense gave up 254 rushing yards and recorded just one sack against a suspect Pittsburgh offensive line. While this loss knocks Virginia Tech out of the national title discussion, the Hokies are still in control of the Coastal Division.
Next Game: Bowling Green

5. NC State (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
6
Week 3 result: Beat South Alabama 31-7
After playing Tennessee and Connecticut in the first two weeks of the season, South Alabama was the perfect Week 3 get well opponent for the Wolfpack. Quarterback Mike Glennon had his best performance on the season, throwing for 257 yards and three scores. The defense held the Jaguars without a score until the fourth quarter and recorded seven sacks. NC State should have another easy win in Week 4 against FCS opponent Citadel.
Next Game: Citadel

6. Virginia (2-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Week 3 result: Lost to Georgia Tech 56-20
There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: Georgia Tech simply dominated the Cavaliers on Saturday. Virginia’s offense never generated much of a rushing attack, and the defense couldn’t stop the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense. Georgia Tech rushed for 461 yards and seven scores, while quarterback Tevin Washington threw for 133 yards and one touchdown. After a sluggish performance by Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco, Alabama transfer Phillip Sims may get extended snaps in the Week 4 matchup against TCU.
Next Game: at TCU

7. Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Week 3 result: Lost to Florida State 52-0
Even after losing to Florida State 52-0, it’s hard to penalize the Demon Deacons in the power rankings. Few candidates in the ACC are deserving of a promotion, and Wake Forest simply ran into a buzzsaw in Tallahassee. The Demon Deacons gained only 126 yards, while the defense was gashed for 385 yards and four touchdowns by Florida State’s rushing attack. Wake Forest should bounce back this Saturday against Army and has a favorable matchup in Week 5 against Duke.
Next Game: Army

8. North Carolina (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Week 3 result: Lost to Louisville 39-34
It was a tale of two halves for North Carolina against Louisville on Saturday. The Tar Heels were awful in the first half, trailing 36-7 before the start of the third quarter. However, quarterback Bryn Renner rallied North Carolina in the second half, giving the Tar Heels a chance to win in the final minutes. Renner finished with 363 yards and five touchdowns, but the ground attack stalled without Giovani Bernard. North Carolina’s secondary continued to struggle, allowing 279 yards and three touchdowns to Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
Next Game: East Carolina

9. Miami (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
9
Week 3 result: Beat Bethune-Cookman 38-10
A week after suffering a 52-13 beatdown against Kansas State, the Hurricanes rebounded with a 38-10 win over FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman. It was far from a perfect effort from Miami, but freshman running back Duke Johnson scored four touchdowns, and the defense allowed only three points in the second half. Miami’s defense has been a concern all year and while it allowed only a field goal in the last two quarters, Bethune-Cookman managed 233 rushing yards. Considering the Hurricanes’ next opponent (Georgia Tech), specializes in the ground game, Miami’s defensive staff could have a lot of sleepless nights this week.
Next Game: at Georgia Tech

10. Duke (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Week 3 result: Beat N.C. Central 54-17
The Blue Devils jumped out to 17-7 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in Saturday’s win over N.C. Central. Led by quarterback Sean Renfree’s 274 passing yards, Duke scored at least 10 points in every quarter and improved to 2-1 for the first time under coach David Cutcliffe. The rushing attack remains a concern for Cutcliffe, as the Blue Devils managed only 128 yards and one touchdown in Saturday’s win. Duke has another must-win game next week against Memphis.
Next Game: Memphis

11. Boston College (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Week 3 result: Lost to Northwestern 22-13
The Eagles were close, but not good enough to beat Northwestern. Quarterback Chase Rettig had another steady performance, throwing for 291 yards and one touchdown on 24 completions. However, the rushing attack managed only 25 yards, and the defense had no answer for Northwestern’s offense. The Eagles have a bye this Saturday, which comes at a good time with the team searching for answers on both sides of the ball. Boston College returns to play on Sept. 29 against Clemson.
Next Game: Clemson (Sept. 29)

12. Maryland (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
12
Week 3 result: Lost to Connecticut 24-21
Just like the Terrapins’ first two games, Saturday’s matchup against Connecticut wasn’t the easiest to watch. Maryland’s offense managed a season-low 205 yards against the Huskies and committed two turnovers. The Terrapins had a shot to win in the final minutes, but Connecticut’s defense held late in the fourth quarter. Through three weeks, Maryland’s offense ranks 119th nationally in total yards per game (258.3) and 105th in turnover margin. The Terrapins have made some progress in Randy Edsall’s second season but beating West Virginia in Week 4 will be a tall task.
Next Game: at West Virginia


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

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Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:49

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